BY LARRY BLOCK –
This will be a very busy week at the Ouachita Little Theatre (OLT) at 610 Mena St. On Thursday evening, from 6 to 9 PM, and Saturday morning, from 10 AM to noon will be tryouts for the February play, Murder In the Magnolias, on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 PM, and Sunday at 2:30 PM the Junior Ouachita Little Theatre (JOLT) will kick off its two-weekend play The JOLT Christmas Variety Play.
The Christmas play, put on by kids from kindergarten through high school age will include two short plays, The Gift Of The Magi, and A Hillbilly Christmas Carol, plus several other short Christmas skits. The co-directors for these plays are Morgan Richmond and Emily Davis. They feature a large number of local kids performing and singing in the various plays and skits. This play will also continue on Friday and Saturday, December 13 and 14 at 7:30 PM, and Sunday, December 15 at 2:30 PM. Tickets are $8, $5, for students and seniors, available at the door 45 minutes before performances.
The auditions for Tim Kelly’s Murder In the Magnolias, directed by OLT president, Tim Hesse, introduces not only the opportunity for local people to perform in an interesting comedic murder mystery, both at the OLT and at a dinner at Mena Mountain Resort, but also enables attendance at a broader workshop, during the development and rehearsals of the play. This will allow both the actors selected for parts in the play as well as others to participate in learning about theater arts.
Rehearsals will not start until January 2, 2014, after the holidays. The play will actually be performed at the OLT over the weekends of February 21-23, and February 28 through March 2. The performance at Mena Mountain Resort will be on Valentine’s Day, Friday, February 14.
The cast of 12 characters, six men and six women include Colonel Rance Chicken Wing: Age 76. He is a former U.S. Senator who is now crotchety and difficult, with a secret. He is modeled after the character of “Big Daddy” in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”
Amanda Chickenwing: (Over 40 years old.) She is the younger sister to the Colonel. She has bent like a willow under his tyranny. She is a shrinking violet who never had a beau or gentleman caller in her life so she has invented them. She is modeled after both “Blanche Du Bois” from “Streetcar Named Desire” and “Laura” from “Glass Menagerie.”
Jezabel: (Age to be determine.) She is the housekeeper from hell who is slovenly, lazy, inept, and outspoken. She is owed seven years back wages which she will never collect so she knows she can do and speak as she pleases. Her character is modeled after the female servant in “Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte” played by Agnes Morehead.
Voodoo Woman: (Over 40 years old.) She is the local witch with a secret past. She has very few lines, which she repeats over and over again in a strange “Creole” accent. Her character is modeled after the street vendor selling flowers in “Streetcar Named Desire.”
Pete Bogg: (Under 40 years old.) He is the dashing hero/state engineer sent to dig up the old plantation. He and Lorraine are the ultra “straight men” for all the lunatics in the asylum. They are patterned after “Brad and Janet” from the “Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
Lorraine Carruthers: (Under 40 years old.) She is our damsel in distress. She is in search of a hero in this asylum of lunatics. She is patterned after “Janet” from the “Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
Thornbird Chickenwing III: (Under 40 years old.) He is a young, sensitive Southern writer easily bruised by a harsh word. His arch enemy is Bubba Kamrowski who is a bully from his childhood. Oddly, he too is modeled after “Blanche Du Bois” in “Streetcar Named Desire.” He has an upper-crust Southern accent.
Bubba Kamrowski: (Under 40 years old.) He is a dim witted bully who never grew up. He’s always looking for an angle to get by with the least amount of work. He has a hillbilly accent like the “Beverly Hillbilly’s.” Another resource for his character might be the three guys in “Oh Brother Where Art Thou?”
Lawyer Possum: (Age to be determined.) He has only two clients, the Colonel and an alligator at the local children’s petting zoo.
Princess Lotta Kargo: (Over 40 years old.) She is a boozy, brassy, has-been actress who may or may not have married the Colonel on a drunken toot. Her character is going to be directly modeled after “Norma Desmond” in “Sunset Boulevard.”
Sheriff Billy Jerk: (Age to be determined.) He has been Sheriff for quite some time, as Pete and he have known each other all their lives. Perhaps they have been rivals for the same women. He has a bad case of “Short Man Syndrome.” He is modeled after Boss Hog and every other southern sheriff you have ever seen.
Blanche Du Blank: (Over 30 years old.) She is a woman who enjoys her sexuality. She is modeled after “Blanche Du Bois” from “Street Car Named Desire.”
Anyone is welcome to audition. For more information, called the OLT info line at (479) 243-0186, or visit the OLT website, www.oltmena.comwhich contains a more detailed list of characters, and an audition form that can be downloaded to bring to the auditions.