'The Savannah Sipping Society' serves up a laugh a minute


The cast of

The cast of "The Savannah Sipping Society" rehearse for the comedic play to be presented Oct. 25-28 by the West Point/Clay County Arts Council at the Louise Campbell Center for the Arts in West Point. From left are Suzanne Brasfield, Julie Gray, Donna Ross and Joni Seitz. Photo by: Courtesy photo


Jan Swoope



What do a divorced good ole Texas gal, an uptight high-society lady, a lonely widow and a self-appointed life coach have in common? They are bound by an unexpected but much-needed friendship in "The Savannah Sipping Society." The comedy about four unique Southern women will be presented Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 25-28 by the West Point/Clay County Arts Council.  


Performances at the Louise Campbell Center for the Arts in downtown West Point are set for 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday; at 2 and 5 p.m. Saturday; and at 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $12 (cash or check only), available at Petal Pushers and First United Methodist Church in West Point. Seating is limited; advance tickets are recommended. Some shows were nearing "sold out" as of press time.  




Quartet of friends 


Mary Ann Berry of West Point directs the play written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten.  


"I fell in love with it. It's delightful, funny and warm-hearted," said Berry, who first saw the production while living in Georgia and involved with community theater.  


The cast is essentially just four women. Suzanne Brasfield portrays Marlafaye, who blasts into Savannah after losing her tom-cattin' husband to a 23-year-old dental hygienist. Joni Seitz is Randa, a workaholic coping with a surprise career derailment. Julie Gray plays the part of Dot, still reeling from the recent demise of her husband and loss of their plans for an idyllic retirement. Donna Ross portrays Jinx, a spunky character who offers to be a life coach for the others. 


Through misadventures, mutual support and liquid refreshment, these women finally find the confidence to jump-start their new lives.  


Brasfield is stepping out front in what will be her first leading role in an arts council play. 


"I've painted and built scenes, but I've never done anything like this," she said.  


Berry admits she may have had a different character in mind when she first asked Brasfield to audition, "but when she did, she was Marlafaye." Brasfield's character meets most of the other ladies at a hot yoga class. Before long, the four women are sharing happy hours on "Randa's veranda" and become great friends.  


Brasfield said play rehearsals have intensified the real-life friendships of the cast members. 


"We're seeing new sides of each other through our characters," she remarked. 


Julie Gray finds plenty of laughter in the play. 


"It's got some great lines in it from these middle-aged women that have all come from different backgrounds and find a bond," she said. "It's been so much fun."  


As president of the arts council, Gray noted that the organization generally presents three productions a year. "And we still do a variety of other things, including Sundays at the Center and our art exhibits," she added. 


By all accounts, tickets are already going fast for "The Savannah Sipping Society." 


"I've seen it I can't tell you how many times, and I always find something new to laugh about," Berry said. 






WHO: West Point/Clay County Arts Council 


WHAT: "The Savannah Sipping Society"  


WHEN: Oct. 25-26, 7 p.m.; Oct. 27, 2 and 5 p.m.; Oct. 28, 2 p.m. 


WHERE: Louise Campbell Center for the Arts, 235 Commerce St., West Point 


TICKETS: $12, cash or check only, at Petal Pushers (662-492-7673) and First United Methodist Church, West Point. Limited seating; advance tickets recommended.


Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.


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