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Southern Hospitality Gets Redefined

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Southern Hospitality Gets Redefined

By Talented Local Drama Group

By Lucy Germany

In a perfect world there are no perfect people.

But watch out for the ones who look good in the first act and turn out to be villains by the end of the second..

The typical southern small town—in this case, Faro, Texas, the mythical though definitely recognizable setting for Southern Hospitality, the September play by the Holly Lake Ranch Community Theater—was the perfect vehicle for identifying who has warts and who doesn't. It was obvious from the very beginning that the people of Faro adhere to old-fashioned values, that they want to be loved by their neighbors and that they are dedicated to the preservation of the simple life. Boisterous at times, downright sentimental at others, Southern Hospitality told the story of a group of people, worried that their town is in danger of dying of smallness, and faced with an opportunity to lure a major business to their midst which they translate into hope for a radiant future. But how to do it?. As Conan Doyle might have said—"the game's afoot" and the audience was plunged into a gradually unfolding scheme to "sell" the wonders of Faro to the representative from the potential "savior". Plans for an all-out celebration of Faro's marvels included a civil war battle enactment, minus identifiable uniforms and weapons (the lack of union blue attire forced the recruitment of a mass of blue helium balloons to defend the Yankee honor) a bake sale, a beauty pageant and other hijinks designed to impress the "furriners". As the plot unfolded we became more and more aware of who the good guys were, who we should feel sorry for, who could be considered relatively harmless and who must be booed/hissed , for being downright unpleasant. The people of Faro were largely introduced in the first act and we got—early on— an idea of who to like and who to cross off our permanent guest list. The whole thing was pure fun, the audience rewarding the cast with loud bursts of applause, followed at the end by a well-earned standing ovation. Between scenes, authenticity was provided by a mosaic of "old faithful"country/cowboy songs including "Yellow Rose of Texas", "Battle Hymn of the Republic", "Deep in the Heart Of Texas" "Look Away Dixieland" and "Little Brown Church in the Wildwood". The costumes perfectly portrayed the "character of the characters" while the minimal stage furnishings' authentic flavor was enhanced with signs such as BooKoo Bookay (the flower shop) and Dairy Dawg (the fast food hangout). The cast—some of whom were first timers on the stage also included a number of professionals, headed by directors Tony Bailey and Liz MacLennan whose efforts were well-rewarded by the energetic applause from the audience. Jessie Jones, one of the play's three authors, honored the cast with a phone call expressing enthusiastic encouragement. A professionally produced play booklet introduced the cast members with their photos and specifics on their stage experience.

The group's next offering at the Summit Heights Church, November 17-19, will be "Dead Man's Chest" to be directed by Liz MacLennan and Kit Young.