Backporch Players back with ‘Borderline Crazies’
by Robert Joseph Baker | April 24, 2014 7:54 pm
Last Updated: April 24, 2014 at 5:01 pm
It has been two years since the Backporch Players last brought their unique mixture of humor and vitality to the stage at Weldon Auditorium.
But from Friday through Sunday, the group will be back with “Borderline Crazies,” a play by Leo W. Sears where two characters put a plan in motion to “pep up one couple’s marriage, but a lot of things go wrong on the way,” according to Jewell Brown.
“This man and woman, Stu and Ellen (played by Stuart Smith and Sharon Ridgeway), are just bogged down in their marriage,” said Brown, president of the Backporch Players. “He’s an efficiency expert, and there’s no more fun in their marriage. It’s on the rocks.”
Ellen meets Monica Black (Drenda Gibson), and the two devise the plan that leads to nothing but pratfalls for the rest of the cast.
“Each character decides on his or her own behind their backs to make things better,” Brown said. “It does have a happy ending, but a lot goes wrong on the way.”
Charlie Broadway plays Ira Black, a famed murder-mystery writer and Monica’s husband, who pretends in the initial moments of the play to be an axe murderer to get a rise out of Stu. Through a mix-up, both couples end up at a cabin in the woods on the same weekend.
Billy Timmons plays Harry Poindexter and the actual axe murderer of the comedy; Margaret Shreve rounds out the cast as an officer and chauffer.
The play’s dark comic leanings hearken back to the players’ last production – Arsenic and Old Lace, a tale where two spinsters murder elderly men with poisoned elderberry wine. And they’re the least crazy of the Mortimer family featured in the play.
Both Broadway and Stuart were a part of that previous production. Ridgeway was a part of the players’ production of “The Sound of Music” several years ago.
Brown said while no production is easy, plays have been easier to stage than musicals.
She said “Borderline Crazies” was chosen by the Backporch Players board in early January. Initially, a different play was chosen, but Brown said the fast-paced, action-packed comedy appealed more to the organization’s members.
“They liked the idea of the comedy over the musical,” Brown said. “We love the musicals. Being theater, we like all aspects of performing. But the comedy was probably the best direction to go in.”
Brown said the group has undertaken numerous productions since its formation more than two decades ago through a grant from Rural Arts.
“From the grant we had to form either a little theater, or do something with the money that would benefit the entire community, county and region,” she said.
The group’s first production was “Our Town,” although Brown cannot remember how long ago the group first performed. She has been president of the players for more than 20 years, however.
“We have had big productions, with professional directors and other things like that,” Brown said. “Those have included ‘South Pacific.’”
The group performed at Weldon even as the building was beginning to fall apart in the late 1990s. It was fitting then, Brown said, that the group would welcome renovations on the building in 2009 by singing at the Weldon Ghostlight Tour. The players were also on-hand for the building’s dedication and Grand Opening Concert in December 2010.
“Our goal was to do one play or production a year,” Brown said. “But in recent years, as we’ve gotten older, it has been hard to get that accomplished. We would love newer, younger members who would like to take up the mantle.”
In the meantime, she’s hopeful the community will come out and enjoy the “talented residents of this county.”
“I hope anyone who comes to the play gets two hours of relaxation and laughter,” Brown said. “I just hope that they can go and see some of this real talent that we have in Clarendon County. I don’t think we’ve yet reached all of the talent, but we have a lot of faces who have not been with us before.”
Tickets are $15 per person. Showtimes are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 3 p.m. Sunday.