Stone Mountain, GA--A rainy Friday night in Georgia was made to order for a homecoming. Clarinda Ross brought her autobiographical play, “Spit Like A Big Girl” to the theater where she began her professional career as an actor and playwright. It was also, according to Art Station’s David Thomas who directed the production, the Southeastern premiere of the play.
Storytelling thrives in the South. Family, separation, birth and death are common themes that fill magazines, books, songs and of course the stage. What separates “Spit” is much of what makes the play compelling and relevant. For two spellbinding hours we join in the story of an amazing family of college professors, marriages and journeys buttressed with humor and more than a little sadness.
Clara, the developmentally challenged daughter, never actually appears but she surely stars and shines throughout the play. Her mother, Clarinda, takes us to places where mindless bureaucrats, thoughtless boyfriends and indifferent strangers somehow manage to find a way to make daily existence for mother and child a nightmare.
Floating around the audience was the unspoken but very profound question: How many of us have endured similar cruelty when we were desperately looking for help?
No need for a spoiler alert. “Spit” ends triumphantly, a victory for perserverance and a testament to the power of mothers everywhere who will not back down. If there is any deficiency, it is that we were not able to meet Clara, now grown and likely filled with the same spunk and grit of her devoted Mom.
Originally a one-person play, it has expanded to include the early days of Clarinda in Georgia and North Carolina masterfully performed by a young and gifted actress, Angelica Spence, a local talent, who early on matriculated at Art Station and now calls Buckhead home. Look for her in other productions. Her rising star shines brightly.
|Clarinda Ross (L) and Angelica Spence|
A paen to her college professor father who regularly cautioned “there’s nothing more dangerous than an educated redneck,” and kept a journal which manifested post-mortem to become a guide for his daughter’s career as an actress, playwright and storyteller, “Spit Like A Big Girl” is a lesson in the power of enduring love, seasoned with laughter, spiritual enough to prompt tears on demand.
It’s very Southern. It almost has to be. God created us to be storytellers.
Through Feb. 24.