In a stage production that mirrors the hopes and fears of small towns everywhere, 14 Marion High School students will perform “Southern Hospitality,” the comic sequel to last spring’s performance of “Dearly Beloved.”
“We’ve never done a sequel before,” director Janet Killough said. “In the movies, some people say the sequel is never as good as the original, but this play is funny.”
Audience members don’t need to have seen “Dearly Beloved” for the comic exploits in “Southern Hospitality” to make sense, she said. However, some of the actors have changed.
“The play features the Futrelles, the same dysfunctional family from “Dearly Beloved,” Killough said. “The Futrelles get into all sorts of trouble, but there’s always an undercurrent of love.”
Action centers on the Futrelle family and other residents of Fayro, Texas, as they fight to keep their hometown from diminishing into a ghost town.
“The people who grew up in Fayro are afraid that their town is going to disappear,” Killough said. “Businesses are leaving, people are leaving, so the people decide to have a big celebration to bring everyone back, and it’s just crazy what they have planned.”
The plot thickens when the Futrelle sisters, played by juniors Elizabeth Meyer, Katie Nordquist, Shyla Harris, and sophomore Tori Boyd, come up with an idea to save the town after hearing a salsa company is looking for a town in which to build a factory.
Seniors Jacob Baldwin and Justin Terrel will both don body props for the production.
Jacob will strap on a potbelly rig to play Dub Dubberly, a man going through a midlife crisis.
With a walker to support him and a raggedy wig, Justin will play Iney Dubberly, a cranky old woman.
One scheme residents dream up is a Civil War reenactment scene of a battle that did not happen in their town or in Texas. Their reenactment rewrites history so that the South wins.
Nathan Baldwin also will play Raynerd Chisum “the town crazy” that ends up being crucial to the town’s salvation.
“They all love their town and are willing to do anything to keep it going,” Killough said.
Doors open at 6:15 p.m. Students take the stage at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at USD 408 Performing Arts Center.
Tickets are available at the door starting at $2 for ages 12 and under and $3 for adults.