The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

January 17, 2013

Tar River Players change in schedule

The Daily Southerner

TARBORO — The Tar River Players have had a change in their playbill this season.

The theater group will perform “The Trip to Bountiful” by playwright Horton Foote, rather than giving a performance of “Oliver!” a musical adaptation of a Charles Dickens novel. The play is scheduled to open Feb. 22, with rehearsals starting this week.

“It’s about a woman who has been forced to leave the small town where she’s lived all her life,” said Roberta Cashwell, who is co-directing the play with one of her theater students, Coley Sykes. The play centers on the elderly woman’s quest to get back to her hometown of Bountiful. Cashwell said the woman moves to the city with her son and daughter-in-law supposedly for “her own good,” and it’s clear that one of the reasons for her move is because her Social Security check will help with her son and daughter-in-law’s finances.

“It’s very poignant, but it also has funny moments,” Cashwell said. “The playwright leaves us with hope at the end of the film.”

Foote is known for three screen plays – “The Trip to Bountiful,” “Tender Mercies” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.” “The Trip to Bountiful” was made into a 1985 film, starring actress Geraldine Page.

“The Trip to Bountiful” has only three women’s roles and five or six men’s roles, unlike the Players’ recent shows.

“We’ve been focusing on big-cast shows that last year and a half,” Cashwell said, noting that the group tries to provide variety in its shows, in terms of cast size and setting, for audiences. The Players’ most recent show, an adaptation of British author Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” was set in London, “A Trip to Bountiful” is set in the Southern United States, the upcoming spring show, Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” is set in Transylvania, and the upcoming “Alice in Wonderland” is set in Lewis Carroll’s fictitious Wonderland.

“The Trip to Bountiful” will run for two weekends – Feb. 22, 23 and 24, and March 1, 2 and 3. All performances will take place in the McIntyre Auditorium at Edgecombe Community College. The cost of a ticket is $10 for adults and $5 for students and children, seniors age 65 and older, and groups of 10 or more.

The Players’ are in their eighth performance series, and Cashwell is “really pleased’ with the way this season is going.

“We broke box office records with ‘A Christmas Carol’ last year, and we did about the same this year,” Cashwell said. “Bryan Haislip really rose to the occasion [in the role of Ebenezer Scrooge]. He was amazing and indeed the whole cast was.”

Rehearsals for “Dracula” will begin just after the opening of “The Trip to Bountiful.” For more information about the performance series, contact Cashwell at the college at 823-5166, ext. 218.