Hot Georgia Sunday

By Catherine Trieschmannhaven theatre

Directed by Marti Lyon

Produced by Haven Theatre

At the Den, Chicago

Hilarious look at white trash from the Deep South

It is difficult to  tell a memory story from monologues by the six characters but with playwright Catherine Trieschman’s down-home dialogue, she succeeds. We meet a group of white trash small town folks who are both sexually charged and stupid as a bag of rocks. The laughs emerge from the wacky monologues as each participant recalls the events of a scorching hot summer Sunday in rural Georgia. What fuels this realistic comedy is the deftly presented monologues from an excellent cast.These folks have the accurate Southern twang going that accents their actions nicely (kudos to dialect coach Jason K. Martins).

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Jenny (Emily Woods) is a sex-starved teen who is obsessed with her girlfriend Tara’s (Kay Kron) affair with the married youth minister at their Baptist church.  Jenny’s alcoholic father and church janitor, Glenn (HB Ward) has his drunken moments that lead him to sin and redemption in a series of hilarious adventures.  Tara and her boyfriend Robby (Rob Fenton) have a violent love-hate relationship whose rage becomes physical and damaging to both. Pastor Thompson (Ed Dzialo) tries to be both the peace-maker and the agent of stability in the community.

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What makes this play work comes mainly from how empathetic and pathetic each character is presented. We laugh and commiserate with how unable these losers are to connect with the simple events in their lives. Alcohol, violence, and sexual frustration are employed as coping devises. Much of the humor comes from the down-home descriptions of events that are salted with local color. The tricky form of monologue storytelling works as we become engrossed into the wacky events shaped by ignorant, sensual folks whose hedonistic tendencies overshadow their Baptist beliefs.You’ll laugh at and with this hapless troupe. While all six players were excellent, I especially like the performance from HB Ward and Kay Kron.

Hot Georgia Sunday makes me cherish  the fact that I was born and raised in Chicago and not in rural Georgia. Hot Georgia Sunday is a hoot!  It is clever, filled with terrific performances as it tells most plausible story of life as white trash folks live it.  The play is raw, graphic and darkly funny.

Haven Theatre has followed up their successful production of Seminar with this wonderful dark comedy. I’m putting them on my list of worthy theatre companies and so should you. For an alternative to all the sweet holiday shows, try Hot Georgia Sunday.

Highly Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: November 24, 2014

For more info checkout the Hot Georgia Sunday page at theatreinchicago.com

At The Den, 1333 N.Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL, www.haventheatrechicago.com, tickets $30, $25 seniors, industry/students $10, Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3pm, running time is 2 hours with intermission, through December 21, 2014

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