brings sisters together in comedy
south news editor
Beth Henley’s drama comedy Crimes
of the Heart, now in its 25th year, opens on South
Campus next week.
In the play, directed by theater arts instructor
Craig Lee, three sisters reunite from very crazy and
Three performances run Thursday-Saturday,
March 9-11 and begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Joe B. Rushing
Center for Performing Arts.
Lee, in his third production on South Campus,
said the 1981 Pulitzer-winning play stays alive over
the years because the audience can relate to the real-life
bonds these characters share.
Audiences can usually relate to the family
situation of when things are not going well.
When something worse happens, everyone
comes together to help.
The comedy is portrayed with dark humor,
and the drama and tragedy in these experiences bring
the family closer.
“ We can relate to the characters,”
“ We can all understand those journeys
the characters go through and the humor that comes
from these relationships,” he said.
Lee said the location of Henley’s play, Hazlehurst,
Miss., lends to the realism since it is an actual place.
“ It is vital to the piece that
these characters become three-dimensional people
that we know,” he said. “We know them and are probably
one of them.”
Lee also said characters will not have
to struggle with the dialect because it is well written
into the text.
Lee provides the environment on stage for
students to become these characters.
He drives a heavy-handed schedule and expects
them to strive for perfection, but is not too critical.
“ Ultimately, I am trying to help
them create a process that will give them an understanding
of the business of theater,” he said.
“ In this crazy business, you only
find out how to survive it by developing a process
to keep it sane. As long as they try, we feel good
about [the outcome] because we know we worked for
it,” he said.
In three three-hour rehearsals per week,
soon to be five days, the performers will accumulate
about 75 hours of practice devoted to this play.
Students enrolled in the one-credit hour
practicum class use play rehearsals as the equivalent
Instead of concentrating on the single
credit hour given for the class, plays are more about
experience in the field of production.
Performances are applications of the material
learned in class and make excellent resume builders,
Brandy Marney, who plays Babe, the youngest
Magrath sister, said the amount of time spent on
the play is worth it because as a drama major,
this is what she does.
Marney said the sisters are coming together
at home in Hazlehurst.
After seeing her sister Lenny, and cousin
Chick, Babe’s other sister, Meg, enters.
“ [Babe] hasn’t seen her in five
years. They’re trying to have this happy reunion,
and Chick comes in and is the annoying person as
usual,” she said.
“ Babe blows up and goes upstairs;
Lenny gets called away. Babe comes back to have
the first conversation with Meg in five years,”
Heather Chambers as the rebellious, slutty,
rather bitchy middle sister, Meg, said she wants people
The drama contains some black humor and
is for a mature audience, but everyone can relate on
one level or another, Chambers said.
“ It will be funny to see somebody
else have to deal with [the drama],” she said.
“It is always nice to see someone else fall flat
on their face.”
Chambers is a fourth semester full-time
drama student and said she has a couple of favorite
parts—mostly the emotional ones.
“ When I find out Babe, my younger
sister, has been abused by her husband, I yell
at everyone about it,” she said.
I take out my frustrations on everyone,
including the lawyer, Chambers said.
“ I can relate. I have been in
that situation. If someone messes with your sibling,
there is going to be hell to pay,” she said.
Actress Sarah Barnes works full time in
addition to her 12-hour course load.
She plays Chick, the cousin of the three
“ I enjoy the broom chase scene
because I get to be evil,” she said. “There is
a good reason I get chased. No one likes me.”
Leeann Brown, a TCC graduate and UTA theater
major, plays Lenny, the oldest sister who is becoming
an old maid.
The actors, in their fourth rehearsal,
had not experienced any real-life rivalry. Brown said
that will have to wait until they’ve have more
time on the set.
“ We work in close quarters, but
we have great sister chemistry,” she said. “I am
the oldest sister, and I keep them in check. But,
the best part of this play is when I finally just
snap and do the chase scene with the broom.”
This play really allows audience members
to get a taste of a very dysfunctional family, Brown
Crimes of the Heart is rated PG because
of mild language, double entendre and adult humor. It
is not intended for very young audiences.
The play is free with ID or schedule for
TCC students, $3 for other college students, seniors
and children, and $6 for the general public. For reservations,
call the box office at 817-515-4642.
Tickets will also be available at the door.
There will be no late seating.