While schools closed, government organizations announced reduced hours, a trial was postponed for a day and Valdosta braced for a Southern winter storm, a group of ladies dressed in beach clothing gathered Tuesday night to practice for a play.
The show must go on, and with Theatre Guild Valdosta’s “The Dixie Swim Club” set to open this evening, so must rehearsals.
The comedy revolves around five women who were on the same college swim team. Each summer, they reunite at the beach to catch up with one another.
“The Dixie Swim Club” was written by playwrights Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, members of the team who created past Guild comedies such as “Southern Hospitality,” “Christmas Belles,” etc.
The show is set from the early 1980s to the present when the characters are in their late 40s to late 70s in age, says Josh Robertson, the show’s Guild director. Some makeup is used to mature the characters throughout the show, but mostly the actresses rely on their movements to convey growing older, the director says.
Robertson has performed in several Guild shows, most notably as Atticus Finch in the recent production of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” “The Dixie Swim Club” is his directorial debut.
He has enjoyed the new challenge with help from a fun-loving cast of Theatre Guild veterans. The show features the five swim team friends and only these five women. They are played by Diane Brunston, Patti Cook, Karen Cutler, Lynnette Kenworthy, and Karen Root.
Running through lines for a series of newspaper photographs, they chat in character, make jokes, make one another laugh, all while dressed in their breezy clothes, ready to embrace a poignant comedy set in a balmy beach while winter swirls outside the Dosta Playhouse.
THE CAST: Diane Brunston, Patti Cook, Karen Cutler, Lynnette Kenworthy, and Karen Root.
DIRECTION, PRODUCTION: Josh Robertson, director, lighting & sound design; Andrew Thomas, assistant director, stage manager; Michael Brogdon, technical director, producer; Robertson and Brogdon, set concept and design; Brock Gilliard, costumer, props master; Katelynn Kenworthy, light technician; Stephenie Austin, sound technician; Clay Lee, box office manager; Ryan Swaims, publicity; Cindy Dame, photographer; Mary Ann Green, Linda Stikkel, Hannah Moody, dressers; Andrea Slawinski, Aiden Slawinski, John Michael Slawinski, stage crew.