Long-term Maconites may remember the last time Jim Crisp directed The Octette Bridge Club at Theatre Macon in 1993. Crisp said that now is the perfect time to reprise the script, and bring new aspects to it for a modern audience.
Having done it 20 years ago and coming back to it, Im 20 years older, and while Ive directed a lot of plays in those 20 years, I also bring more to the script and story than I did ... my insights are sharper and Im more insightful about it, Crisp said.
The story is about eight Irish Catholic sisters who have a bridge club in the 1930s and 40s. Costume designer Shelley Kuhen and hair designer Laurel Kuhen Astin have really captured the look of the era through their styling.
Crisp says that audiences will notice that even though culture differs, the concerns that these women have are so close to our own.
The play showcases the dynamics of women together as friends -- and is a play that allows women to be women together and do and say things that they wouldnt normally if men were around, Crisp said.
The central conflict of the show happens around Martha (played by Becky Yeatman) and Betsy (played by Liane Treiman), the oldest and youngest sisters. Its really a conflict of the old world giving way to the new, Crisp said.
The cast of eight women and one man differ as much as their characters. Pam Burkhalter, one of the two women who were in the original cast (the other being Yeatman) says that the cast is about as close as family.
We have managed to get to know each other fairly well as we have rehearsed so that we can do a better job of conveying a sisterhood, Burkhalter said.
Another bonding experience that the cast had was a crash course in faking how to play bridge, Burkhalter explained. Only a couple of us actually play! she said.
The cast comprises Burkhalter, Yeatman, Treiman, Jaloo Zelonis, Jane Winston, Linda Johnson, Pam Norton, Teri Hatley and David Carlson.
Though the show does mainly center around the relationships of the sisters, it is a show that both genders will be able to enjoy.
Men should give it a chance and know that they will be as entertained as their wives and girlfriends because they will recognize their mother, their grandmother and their wives in these women, Crisp said.
The Octette Bridge Club
When: 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Feb. 22-23; 2:30 p.m. Sunday; and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday
Where: Theatre Macon, 438 Cherry St.
Cost: $20 adults, $18 seniors, $15 students