Love is a Blue Tick Hound
Dec. 8-17, Terrific New Theatre
On a recent trip to New York City, Sandra Taylor saw a piece of her home state on stage. It was at the prestigious Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival, to be specific, where she saw “The Gulf”—a short play set in Alabama, written by Alabama native Audrey Cefaly, with actors from Alabama. Better yet, Cefaly’s play was one of four winners.
“Here I am in New York, and here’s Alabama all over the place and no one knows it,” Taylor recalls. “I thought, ‘Now how in the world do we publicize this?’” So Taylor applied for a grant, and now Cefaly is coming to Birmingham to premiere a set of four short plays, including “The Gulf,” at Terrific New Theatre, under the title Love is a Blue Tick Hound, with Taylor as its producer. Cefaly says she is grateful for the Alabama team’s grassroots efforts to help get it published—an affirmation of 15 years of her life’s work. Collectively the four plays have won more than 20 one-act festivals.
“The characters are Southern but ones that have not been written about,” Taylor says. “The country folks, the homeless, the lesbian women, the middle class Southern character—all of whom are so rich in personality. She is writing for folks in the South, giving them a voice they have never had before.”
“Fin and Euba,” which takes place on the porch of an old boarding house, was the first piece that Cefaly wrote in a Southern voice. “I found it came really naturally to me,” Cefaly says. “There is a gorgeous lyricism to Southern language and a sort of simplicity to it as well as a very delicious side of colorful speech patterns that I like to use in all of my pieces.”
She now focuses her writing exclusively on her native region, “digging into some of the myths and mysteries of my childhood in the Gulf Coast region.” “[All of the plays] answer the same questions of how do we get so stuck, and what is the full cost of leaving?” she says.
Cefaly’s works are love stories full of wit. Her characters’ accents are thick, but not in a way that pokes fun at them. Most of all, they are real. “Her Southern voice is like one I have never read,” Taylor says. “Her stories are universal. In ‘The Gulf,’ it’s so obvious although these two women are very different, there is a longing to better themselves. Audrey calls it the common ache we all have longing to be loved and to fit in.” In “Clean,” Lina, a worn-out waitress, and Roberto, a quiet dishwasher, sit alone in the diner at midnight and share stories about their lonely lives. Bob and Betty are out on their second date in “Stuck” when things
All in all, the stories are funny, warm, and rich—a sampling of an up-and-coming playwright who knows her people and her place. “I’m looking forward to connecting them all so the audience can see a full picture of what love can really be,” Cefaly says. “It takes the idea of love and looks at it from every different angle. I think the world is in a lot of pain. That’s why we need stories like this to lift us up to say you are not alone.”
Love is a Blue Tick Hound performances will be held Thursday–Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Post-Show Author Talkbacks will be held Dec. 9 and 10, and on Dec. 8there will be wine and nibbles after the opening production. Tickets are $25. For tickets or more information, visit terrificnewtheatre.com or call (205)328-0868. This program has been made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Dashing Through the Snow
South City Theatre
As told by Director Donna Love
At the Snowflake Inn in Tinsel, Texas, it’s Christmas 365 days a year. This production is made up of four one-act plays that are all self-contained with a beginning, middle, and end. Trina Walcott, the inn owner, is the glue that holds all four stories together, along with a disgruntled guest who is supposed to be representing a B&B association. There’s an attempt to end a 30-year family feud between aunts, a spur-of-the-moment wedding, self-involved actors from a low-budget production of A Christmas Carol, and an ill-advised romantic rendezvous between Mrs. Claus and one of Santa’s elves.
It’s a feel-good, laugh-out-loud Christmas show that brings home the holiday season. I’m excited because we have 17 people in the cast. I wanted to have as many people as possible. New actors can get a taste of what theatre is about, and there are not a whole lot of lines to learn.
The Unique Angle
South City holds an opening night reception for the audience, cast, and crew. It’s complimentary and everyone stays after the show. The actors come out and you can interact with them and enjoy wine and cheese. South City is a small theatre out in Pelham that’s more than just community theatre. It’s very mighty.
A Christmas Carol
Nov. 15-Dec. 18
Birmingham Children’s Theatre
A Christmas Story:
Virginia Samford Theatre Mainstage
Holiday Spectacular 2016
RMTC Cabaret Theatre
It’s A Wonderful Life
Dec. 2-4, 9-11
Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some)
Ten Minute Play Festival
Harrison Theatre, Swearingen Hall
Broadway Christmas Wonderland
BJCC Concert Hall
A Dicken’s Vest Pocket Christmas Carol
Alys Stephens Center