Married friends gather for a regular dinner, but when the husbands accidentally lock themselves in a freezer, well, are their marriages as happy as the couples pretend?
So goes the basic plot device of Michele Lowe’s dark comedy, “The Smell of the Kill,” opening tonight as part of Theatre Guild Valdosta’s Stage II productions.
“This is the story of three upper-class women who, along with their husbands, meet once a month at each other’s house for dinner,” says Diane Brunston, a regular Theatre Guild performer making her directoral debut. “The play begins as the women are clearing dinner and the men play indoor golf in the next room. We learn through their banter, their happy marriages may not be what they seem. The husbands end up accidentally locking themselves in a basement meat locker and the women begin to debate whether or not to let them out before they freeze to death.
“There are some poignant moments, but this is definitely a dark comedy.” With plenty of themes meant for a mature audience.
“The Smell of the Kill” is the second in the Guild’s new series of Stage Two productions.
Stage Two shows feature shorter scripts, shorter rehearsal periods, and a shorter schedule of performances — three shows during one weekend rather than the Main Stage shows’ seven performances during two weekends. All offered with simple staging. Last fall’s Vietnam drama “A Piece of My Heart” was the first Stage Two show.
“Our Stage Two productions are unique in that we rehearse in an alternative space, because the Main Stage show is rehearsing onstage,” says Brunston. The Guild’s Main Stage show “The Trip to Bountiful” concluded its two-weekend run last week.
“We chose to do most of our rehearsals upstairs in a cleared space normally used for storage,” Brunston says. “Our cast did not have access to the stage until Sunday when the previous show was struck, so the ladies have only been in the actual show space for five nights before we have an audience.”
These shows offer productions that wouldn’t normally be a part of Theatre Guild’s regular season of shows. It also allows Guild members and newcomers the opportunity to do something different, such as Brunston trying her hand at directing.
“I’ve held about every other position onstage and backstage, so I definitely knew what I was in for,” Brunston says of the directing experience. “This was a particularly challenging debut, with the limited rehearsal opportunities and not having the stage available until so late in the process. I’ve relied heavily on my experienced cast to get over the hurdles.”
THE CAST: Bethanie Bass, Brenda Brunston, Stephenie Austin.
DIRECTION: Diane Brunston.
Theatre Guild Valdosta’s Stage II presents “The Smell of the Kill.”
When: Show plays 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Feb. 1, 2; 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3.
Where: The Dosta Playhouse, 122 N. Ashley St.
More information: More information: Call (229) 24-STAGE; or visit www.theatreguildvaldosta.com
Note: This show is recommended for mature audiences for strong language and adult situations.