Laughs and Tears on Demand in this Delightful Play
By Doc Lawrence
STONE MOUNTAIN, GA-College friendships change with graduation, careers, marriage and children. The delightfully all-too-human girls in The Dixie Swim Club cover over 30 years of joy, heartbreak, and martinis at their beloved Outer Banks vacation beach cottage. The play, a popular production, closes out the current season at Stone Mountain’s acclaimed Art Station Theatre with enough bang to sell out every performance.
Best-selling author and Decatur, Georgia native Roy Blount, Jr. said that “the South is a place, the north is a direction.” The Swim Club not only entertains for two hours, but in the best tradition of Steel Magnolias, repudiates the stereotypical Southern woman. There are ties that bind us down here that include friendship, love, family and the unconditional support that surfaces with hardship and death.
And, yes. these former athletes laugh at themselves.
Southern cuisine today occupies an exalted status, surviving relentless attacks from outsiders whose gratuitous claims that fried chicken, hog jowl-seasoned fresh garden vegetables, brewed sweet tea and homemade peach cobbler have no place on the modern dinner table. The plays funniest scenes involve the revulsion prompted by weird snacks served in a failed effort to guide the girls to an imagined better lifestyle.
|A Southern Classic|
The Dixie Swim Club provides a peek into the very special relationship of these five charming women, each with her own needs, wants and dreams. Sheree manages the group with irritating schedules, disgustingly healthy snacks, but soothed by a perky attitude. Dinah is the no-nonsense, career girl Atlanta lawyer who is never far from her Martini shaker. Lexie has a long history of failed marriages and cosmetic surgeries and Jeri Neal is the lapsed nun turned wife and mother. Vernadette has a rocky marriage, incarcerated children, with poverty one step away.
The dialogue recalls Designing Women, but never falls into the abyss of offensive characterizations that diminish many faux comedies about the South. The show contains perhaps the longest monologue about biscuits in the history of theater, an audience-pleasing scene that would make Scarlett O’Hara proud.
Almost on demand, we laugh and cry as these friends through the vehicle of quick, witty dialogue, good running jokes and self-deprecating humor, cope with marriage, children, love, sex, disease and death in this utterly delightful play.
Written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, The Dixie Swim Club starring Aretta Baumgartner, Kara Cantrell, Suzanne Roush, Dina Shadwell and Karen Whitaker runs through July 26.
More information and tickets: (770) 469.1105; www.artstation.org