By Kathrine Newton
Palestine, Texas- “Let’s go do something fun to celebrate this hellish heat!”
Even though the calendar says autumn has arrived, the thermometer still registers in the nineties. Enjoy the last vestiges of summer and join the girls of the “Dixie Swim Club” in a “group swim.” Laugh with them as they stroke through life in this third production of the Palestine Community Theatre’s season at the Historic Texas Theater during the first two weekends in October.
Written by Jesse Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten, the show is directed by Carol Moore.
The comedy explores the lifelong friendships of five Southern women who competed together as members of a college swim team. Sheree, Dinah, Lexie, Jerri Neal, and Vernadette gather every August in the same beach cottage on the outer banks of North Carolina. The show focuses on four of those weekends and spans a period of thirty-three years.
“I hope you will join us as we celebrate southern humor, the importance of true friends, and life’s inevitable changes,” said Moore. “I believe everyone will have a great time.”
“It has been an absolute joy for me to work with these five tremendously talented ladies. They have all worked so hard for the last several weeks to bring the beautiful story of the ‘Dixie Swim Club’ to life.”
Sheree Hollinger, depicted by Dr. Jan Sikes, remains the energetic team leader of the group with a gift for organization and a commitment to promoting a healthy lifestyle.
“Playing the part of Sheree is a joy,” said Dr. Sikes. “It has been a challenge to bring her to life in a way that doesn’t seem too trite. Sheree is multi-faceted while appearing two-dimensional. She has a vulnerable side which she always tries to conceal from the group so as not to appear weak.”
Dinah Grayson, portrayed by PCT newcomer Shelley Jenkins, is a career driven attorney who observes life over a martini by mixing the right amount of dry humor with a zest for life.
“Dinah is someone who is very driven to succeed professionally, but struggles to change gears when it comes to romantic relationships,” noted Jenkins. “She does have a dry wit and may seem a bit disengaged from her friends, but she would do anything for these four women and often does—both openly and behind the scenes.”
Lexie Richards, played by Dixie Dorsett, is the consummate Southern bell who is on the cutting edge when it comes to planning events, attracting men, and undergoing plastic surgery.
“Lexie is a challenging character for me,” explained Dorsett. Although she is vain and frivolous on the surface, she is actually quite intuitive and intelligent on the inside. During the play Lexie works through the process we all experience in life—that of discovering that our identity and self-worth comes not from the approval of others, but from the treasure that lies within us all.”
Jeri Neal McFeeley, performed by Kathy Lamb, is the cheery, ever optimistic former nun who exhibits a surprising core of inner strength and displays a remarkable ability to adapt.
“Jeri Neal McFeeley is a delightful, vivacious bundle of joy,” remarked Lamb. “I love this play because it has moments that people can really identify with. Each scene describes something of the magic of friendship.”
Vernadette Simms, characterized by Kathrine Newton, is a down-on-her-luck public school teacher who manages to retain her grip on reality with self-deprecating humor and duct tape.
“Vernadette is close to my heart,” said Newton. “Although she lives in a whirlwind of disaster, she keeps trying to mend the broken pieces. To her credit, she rarely loses her sense of humor and can be counted on to entertain her friends with stories and one line zingers.”
Performance dates are October 2-4 and October 9-11. On Friday and Saturday evenings the show begins at 7:30. Doors open at 6:30. Sunday afternoon matinees start at 2:00.
Ticket prices are $15 for adults and $10 for students (ages 4-18). Tickets can be purchased locally from the Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce and the Dogwood Diner and from Discount Pools in Elkhart. Tickets can also be found online at www.outhousetickets.com.
Catered cuisine from Chef Simon Webster of Sabor a Pasion will highlight PCT’s traditional Friday opening night festivities.