PERRY -- Venis Glover always wanted to direct the musical Crowns. When she was given the opportunity at Perry Players, she said she jumped at the chance.
Not only is she directing with Teresa Mitchell when the play opens Friday, but she also is acting in the play, as Mother Shaw.
The character Glover plays brought back memories of when she used to attend church at St. James in Perry. The play centers around the tradition of wearing hats to church every Sunday.
You didnt take my momma to church without a hat, Mother Shaw says in the play.
It is much more than just a hat, though.
Throughout the play, the women explain why hats were so important to the lives of the black women who wore them.
Church was the only place slaves could congregate, Mother Shaw says.
Glover said the reason blacks wore hats was because in Africa, they had crowns depicting status in the tribes. When they were brought to the U.S. as slaves, the hats were symbolic of their crowns. Meeting in church was where slaves could show off their hats.
The cast has changed four times due to scheduling conflicts with some of the former actors. Although this has put a strain on the actors, Glover said she is pleased with her cast.
Im just hoping to take everybody down home, she said.
Michael Smalls, who is making his acting debut, plays about eight different men as the script calls for just one man to play several parts.
Other actresses include Toni Eaton playing Wanda and Jeanette, as well as Donna Akins as Velma.
There are about 15 musical numbers during the play, and there will be live musicians.
Mark Mitchell will play the piano, Dayrl Rogers will play percussion and Frank Blair will be on bass.
During one of Velmas monologues, she tells of working on her familys tobacco farm where she woke up extra early. As part of a prank, she put worms into her sisters scarf.
We told her those worms were jewels for her crown, Velma says, laughing.
Throughout the play, there are various scenes that flash back to the days of the civil rights movement as well as the tradition of morning worship.
Crowns speaks of civil rights, so we remember where we were, how far weve come and how our spirituality played a part, Glover said.
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday and Wednesday-Sept. 29, 2:30 p.m. Sunday and Sept. 30
Where: Perry Players Community Theatre, 909 Main St., Perry
Cost: $15 adults, $12 seniors or military, $10 students or children. Sunday matinees $10
Tickets: 987-5354 or www.perryplayers.org