Crimes of the Heart, the latest production to be staged by Prince Edward Community Theatre (PECT), is playing this week at the Mount Tabor Playhouse in Milford. The play promises to warm the audience with a storyline steeped in the antiquated patriarchy of the south and fierce characters, each wrestling with their own inner demons.
The show concludes its two weekend run at Mt. Tabor this weekend.
Written in 1981 by Beth Henley, the play is directed by Bill McMahon. Actors include Bailey Mulridge, Mikenze Pearsoll, Adam McGowan, Kim Kennedy, Jaye Synder and Andy Francis.
Recently, McMahon spoke to the Gazette about this production, shedding light on the feminist leanings of the play and the process of bringing Henley’s work to the stage.
“The play was written by Beth Henley in 1981,” said McMahon. “She was the first female playwright to win a Pulitzer Prize in about 25 years. It’s pretty much a feminist play.”
As McMahon explained, the play takes place in 1974, five years after Hurricane Camille in the town of Hazelhurst, Mississippi.
The entirety of the play takes place in the kitchen of the MaGrath sisters, who’ve converged after years apart-each responding in their own way to their mother’s suicide and father’s abandonment. As McMahon noted, the sisters are the main characters, with two men in supporting roles.
One sister is an alcoholic, he noted, another has recently attempted to murder her husband and the third is suffering from “failure to launch” having never left home.
“I say it’s a feminist play because, at the end, they all kind of get together and share their crimes of the heart and become a three-sister unit,” commented McMahon. “Patriarchy is very big theme as well as sisterhood. It’s set against the background of the south, which was always male dominated. Probably still is right now. That really hasn’t changed.”
The cast has been rehearsing for this production for about seven weeks, explained McMahon, who noted some delay due to difficulty casting.
“I had trouble casting the play because all the characters were supposed to be under 30. Few people that age could commit to the schedule,” he added.
Crimes of the Heart is the first play from PECT to make it to the stage since the beginning of the pandemic. Prior to this production, members of PECT joined with a local theatre club to create a radio play.
McMahon brings a lifelong passion for acting to the PECT stage, having worked in tv and commercials prior to moving to the County.
The play, which has been running since November 12, will continue to run November 18 and 19 with a matinee on November 20. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at https://www.ticketscene.ca/events/42447/.