The Arkansas Tech theater department is bringing Broadway back to the Tech stage with the play “Crimes of the heart” by Beth Henley. This 1981 Pulitzer Prize winning play brings all the drama, comedy and feel of a small town southern community to the center stage.
“I don’t consider this all that dark because we’re southern,” said Dr. Ardith Morris, professor of communication and theater and director of the play. “Southern people don’t lock up their crazies, they’re just Uncle Clyde.”
The humorous touch this play puts on real life issues in a small town gives light to an otherwise dark situation. The theatrical production examines the plight of three young Mississippi sisters (the Magrath’s) betrayed by their own passions.
The play consists of six actors (two male, four females) who must confront issues and escape their past to seize their future and the trials and tribulations that go along with it.
“I read through the play to see how she [Meg] relates to other characters, and she’s a bitch,” said Christina Williams, a senior theater education student from Cabot who’s playing Meg Magrath.
According to the dramatists play service, “Lenny, the oldest sister, is unmarried at thirty and facing diminishing marital prospects; Meg, the middle sister, who quickly outgrew Hazlehurst, is back after a failed singing career on the West Coast; while Babe, the youngest, is out on bail after having shot her husband in the stomach. Their troubles, grave and yet somehow hilarious, are highlighted by their priggish cousin, Chick, and by the awkward young lawyer who tries to keep Babe out of jail while [he’s] helpless not to fall in love with her.”
“The play offers something for everybody,” Williams said. “There’s humor, there’s a dramatic aspect, and there’s little, tiny love stories in between as well. The design work is absolutely amazing. It’s going to be a really awesome show all the way around and I think it will appeal to a lot of different types of people.”
Henley was born in Jackson, Mississippi, to an attorney and a community theatre actress. This southern heritage has played a large role in the setting and themes of her writing. Henley completed “Crimes of the Heart” in 1978, and after several rejections the play was produced in 1979.
Morris said she felt she has the talent pool to get a good cast for the complexity of this play.
“We’re putting in a lot of hard work and it’s a really interesting and funny play,” said Cheyenne Austin, a freshman psychology major from Clarksville who’s playing the understudy to the four women.
The show starts at 8 p.m. and runs October 22-24 at the Techionery Theatre. Tickets are available at the door—$8 for general admission and $5 for those with a valid Arkansas Tech identification card.
For more information go online to atu.edu/cj/ or call (479) 964- 0890.