‘People just need to laugh right now’

Published 9:58 pm Friday, September 17, 2021

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ACT returns to the stage with fast-paced comedy

When Albert Lea Community Theatre actors first started reviewing “Doublewide, Texas” a year and a half ago, they had only made it through their first rehearsal before the COVID-19 pandemic came into the picture and the play was called off.

Now, as the community theater group prepares to kick off its 56th season — and its first play since the start of the pandemic — actors are excited to return to the stage with the fast-paced comedy.

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“It’s finally here, and we are so happy that we are able to do it,” said director Brian Mattson before a rehearsal on Thursday.

The play will be performed at the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center in downtown Albert Lea on Sept. 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30; and Oct. 1 and 2. Shows start at 7:30 p.m., with the Sunday, Sept. 26, matinee, at 2 p.m. 

Mattson said most of the cast from a year and a half ago is returning, though there are a few new members, as well.

The play centers around the inhabitants of one of the smallest trailer parks in Texas, who are thrown for a loop when they realize the nearby town of Tugaloo is determined to annex them. The mayhem escalates as the residents attempt to secede from Texas.

“People just need to laugh right now,” said Mattson, who has previously directed plays including “The Mouse Trap,” “Nana’s Naughty Knickers” and “A Dickens’ Christmas Carol: A Traveling Travesty in Two Tumultuous Acts.” “It’s been a long year and a half, and it’s good to laugh and have fun.”

Cast members are Rebekah Sousa, Christy Fuller, Kristi White, Aaron McVicker, Michael Compton, Michelle Supalla, Bev Loos, Gordy Handeland and Sandra Jimenez. The play is written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten.  

Mattson said much of the play is set in the trailer of Georgia Dean Rudd, played by Fuller, who owns the local diner. There’s also Big Ethel Satterwhite, a nurse, who is played by Sousa; Rudd’s best friend, Joveeta Crumpler, played by Supalla; and Caprice Crumpler, played by Bev Loos.

Mattson said the cast started rehearsing Aug. 18, and all have performed at least one play before.

“The cast has really been looking forward to performing in front of an audience again,” he said, noting that they are all doing well with their Texas accents.

Tickets to the show are $15 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets may be purchased over the phone by calling 1-877-730-3144 (service fees apply), online at actonbroadway.com or at the box office. Tickets also are available at the Albert Lea Convention & Visitors Bureau. ACT season tickets can be purchased until Oct. 2. More information on tickets and box office hours is on the ACT website.

This play will debut a new Hearing Loop system recently purchased by ACT and installed in the theater auditorium at the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center. This system is for audience members who are hard of hearing. To use this technology, you must have a hearing aid or cochlear implant that is equipped with a telecoil program.  

Cast list

Big Ethel Satterwhite: Rebekah Sousa

Georgia Dean Rudd: Christy Fuller

Larken Barken: Kristi White

Norwayne “Baby” Crumpler: Aaron McVicker

Haywood Sloggett: Michael Compton

Joveeta Crumpler: Michelle Supalla

Caprice Crumpler: Bev Loos

Lomax Tanner: Gordy Handeland

Starla Pudney: Sandra Jimenez

Production staff

Director: Brian Mattson

Technical Director/Set Designer: Mark Bartleson

Lighting Designer: Dietrich Poppen

Production Manager: Kristan Dye

Stage Manager: Risha Lilienthal

Costumes: Barb Lang

Props, Set Dressing: Kris Bartley, Crystal Schatz

Lights: Crystal Schatz, John Szymanowski

Sound: Crystal Schatz, John Szymanowski

Technical Assistant: Lynne Boyer