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Second Samuel
a Comedy
by Pamela Parker

COMPANY : Live Arts Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Belfry Playhouse (inside Norcross Presbyterian Church) [WEBSITE]
ID# 5354

SHOWING : October 26, 2018 - November 10, 2018



It was a simpler time in the late 1940s, especially in South Georgia and specifically in a sleepy little town called Second Samuel. What had been called the Great Depression was quickly fading into memory. The war had been won, the election was now over, and “Give ’em Hell Harry” was still president. It had been an exciting time for sure, but the folks in Second Samuel were ready for things to settle down and get back to normal. Except—this was the summer Miss Gertrude passed away, and deep dark secrets were about to be revealed. Nobody could have imagined how the death of one sweet little old lady would turn the entire town upside down, leaving everybody in Second Samuel wondering if anything would ever be normal again!

Recommended for: Ages 10+ due to adult topics (death).

Cast Michael Parker
Assistant Director Melissa Maute
Director Scott F. Rousseau
Lighting Design Andre Eaton
Costume Design Meredith Jones
Stage Manager D Norris
Props Becca Parker
Set Design Scott F. Rousseau
Mr.Mozel Edwin Ashurst
June Charles Bohanan
BFlat Benjamin Carr
Ruby Lory Cox
Marcella Bobbie Elzey
Doc Scott Gassman
Omaha Lisa Gordon
US Nat Martin
Frisky Matt Maute
Jimmy Deeanne Nancy Powell
Mansel Barry N. West
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First-Rate "Samuel"
by playgoer
Sunday, November 18, 2018
Pamela Parker’s "Second Samuel" is a perennial favorite with Georgia community theatres. Live Arts Theatre is currently taking it on, with the participation of a number of Onstage Atlanta regulars, along with some Gwinnett community theater regulars and a couple of first-timers. Director Scott Rousseau has melded them into a cohesive ensemble that brings the script to rollicking life.

Mr. Rousseau has designed a set that includes the requisite locations: a bait & booze bar stage right, a hair salon stage left, and the entry to recently deceased Miss Gertrude’s house center. He does this all in a tiny black box theater with the set along the narrow end of the room. Costumes by Mere Jones and props by Becca Parker help identify the location as rural Georgia in the 1940’s without overcrowding the limited set. There’s even room to place a guitarist in a window upstage left to provide mood music for the quieter scenes. André Eaton’s lighting design does a fine job of delineating the various areas of the stage in which action is occurring.

The deftly characterized roles are ably filled by a fine collection of actors. Lisa Gordon triumphs as a talkative, excitable salon owner, and Lory Cox scores as her more tentative employee. Nancy Powell and Bobbie Elzey interact beautifully as Clairee and Ouizer (whoops! wrong show; this isn’t "Steel Magnolias"), and their barbed interactions are highlights of the show.

The men at the bar don’t fare quite so well, particularly due to some act two line stumbles on opening night. Still, their characterizations are terrific. Edwin Ashurst is the quintessential Southern redneck, Barry West plays a delightfully self-doubting man, and Scott Gassman adds a bit of down-to-earth wisdom as the town doctor. Charles Bohanan amps up the silliness as the town undertaker, and Matt Maute more than holds his own as the open-minded bar owner. Nat Martin owns the role of U.S., a role he played in the original production and that he has reprised over the years.

The central role is that of B-Flat, our narrator and the person at the heart of the story of how Miss Gertrude’s death affects the community of Second Samuel, Georgia (the first Samuel having been destroyed by General Sherman’s troops). Benjamin Carr invests the role with more of a physical handicap than a mental handicap and is probably older than the role calls for, but he handles the demands of the role with the requisite heart and charm.

Scott Rousseau has sculpted the action to bring out the comedy and humanity of the residents of Second Samuel. This is a terrific production (or will be once second act line issues get ironed out), marred only by staging that has actors sitting a lot of the time in a theater that has audience seating all on the same level, obscuring sightlines for those in the back rows. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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