Murderous play to raise money for Georgia Peach Festival

Sun News correspondentMarch 20, 2013 

  • If you go

    What: “Mayhem at Peach Blossom Manor”
    When: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday
    Where: Austin Theater, 119 E. Main St., Fort Valley
    Cost: $30 (includes dinner)
    For more information and tickets, visit gapeachfestival.com.

Combining their resources and talents, the Georgia Peach Festival and the Fort Valley Arts Alliance will present “Mayhem at Peach Blossom Manor,” an original play written and directed by Peach County resident Linda Smith.

The event is a fundraiser for the Georgia Peach Festival and will be performed as a murder mystery dinner theater at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Austin Theater in Fort Valley. The meal will be provided by Georgia Bob’s Barbecue Co.

Smith has written plays for the Georgia Peach Festival for the past five years and has set this one at a retirement home.

“The residents are there living their life,” said Smith, “when the state inspector shows up and says that the facility has one resident too many.”

While the play is not set during the Peach Festival, which will take place in July, Smith said she tried to incorporate references to the area and peaches.

She also wrote with specific individuals in mind since several cast members have performed in all five of her plays.

“I think about them and what they can do as I am writing,” said Smith.

Cast members include Scott Cutler, Brett Copeland, Nicolanne Smith, Michelle Cutler-Ervin, Jeff Ervin, Haley Giddens and Ross Mathews. Tiger Smith, husband of the director, is doing the sound and the lights.

Linda Smith said Cutler, who is 84, gave invaluable assistance as he assisted with dialogue. “He would make suggestions of things that people that age say,” said Smith.

Smith refers to herself as a “laid back director” and said she likes to incorporate the ideas of cast members into the play.

“I try to be flexible, and if someone has an idea, we change it up,” said Smith.

Smith, who has lived in the area for 35 years, said she loves Peach County.

“I tell people all the time that I love living in Mayberry,” said Smith. “It is a place where everybody knows everybody.” A board member of the Peach Festival committee, Smith said the annual festival is a highlight for the community.

“Everybody joins together,” said Smith. “It is a real feel good day.”

Contact Alline Kent at 396-2467 or allinekent@cox.net.

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