Saturday, February 24, 2007
Smoke On The Mountain
By Richard E. Noble
[This is my first review of a play to be published in the Franklin Chronicle. So I just thought that I would document that great event here on the Internet.]
As I sat in the mezzanine, listening to my wife go into a giggling, spastic, semi-convulsion over the antics of Dixie Partington as she “signed” for the hearing impaired the words to one of the Sanders Family Gospel Singers Greatest hits, I couldn't help thinking what a serious minded fellow I have turned into over the years. Maybe I have been playing at this newspaper business too long. Believe it or not, ever since I got this job I’m always thinking about how to say things without slandering everybody. It does seem that no matter what you say in this writing business, you get somebody mad at you. And that is what I was thinking about as I watched this play.
The play, written by Connie Ray and produced at the Dixie Theater by Dixie Partington and Jerry Hall was a spoof on a poor backwoods or mountain hillbilly church. It was truly hilarious and the cast was far beyond any of my expectations.
I hate to pick out one individual without mentioning them all but I was especially attracted to Clinton Leo Zugel and Jesse Lawder. Clinton was dopey and “hickish” and Jesse appealed to my more serious “deep”, I’m-a-tough-sensitive-kind-of-a-guy, side. Clinton had the only serious moment in the whole play. But then, of course, I may have been the only one to see it that way. He might have just been spoofing tough-serious-guy types. What do I know?
Coco Sansoni had the whole place in hysterics with her rather bumptious, and provocative spirituality while Emily Mikesell’s testimony in her Mini Pearl disguise about a June bug with one of its legs tied to the directing spirit of Christianity while it circled in a sure and determined path over her head was a comedy classic.
Both Tom Weaver and David Hemsley Cadwell were more than believable in their presentation of pure “country” virtuosity. And on top of all of that the Gospel music was inspiring. I like Gospel music. It always puts me into a state of religious ardor whether it is being spoofed or performed in true spiritual reverence.
But since I have never before written a review of a play, I got out my Dorothy Parker Anthology and a couple of other play reviewers and perused a little.
It seems that a good review always has something negative to say - to kind of show how brilliant and sophisticated the author is - and certainly, such is I, or I am just as such - well whatever. In any case, I must say in that respect that there were far too many packing-pickle jokes. Having once picked and packed pickles myself, I know only too well the trials and tribulations that Peter Piper must have gone through as he made his often quoted attempts at packing pickles. As you all know Peter Piper did in fact pick a peck of pickles and whether or not anyone knows where the peck of pickles that Peter Piper picked is, it should go without saying that Peter Piper should be praised and not pilloried for though packing or picking pickles may be a pee poor profession, Peter was paid pitifully for that phenomenal pheet.