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Hilarious, heavy and controversial comedy: Sordid Lives

A behind-the-scenes review


November 07, 2014

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    If you're looking for a little adult-themed humor mixed with the accurate portrayal of a country (bordering on white trash) family, Sordid Lives is definitely for you. The production begins tonight at 7:30 p.m., as well as a showing tomorrow night at the same time and a Sunday afternoon performance at 2 p.m., all at the Emma Kelly theatre at the Averitt Center for the Arts.

     The show tastefully touches on sensitive subjects, including death, infidelity, homosexuality, homophobia, transvestitism and a little bit of religion. While the topics may seem heavy for a night out, enough comedy is thrown in to counteract the seriousness of everything else.

     The play features a family ripped apart by a death. Peggy, a mother of three, fell and hit her head after tripping over her lover's wooden legs in their shady hotel room. The story continues to show her family reacting to the circumstances surrounding her death as well as G.W., Peggy's lover, and his family suffering the consequences. While all of that is going on, Peggy's son is in a mental institution because "nobody's that gay." He goes through years of therapy to de-homosexualize him without any luck. In addition, Peggy's grandson is a gay actor in New York. The storyline consists of working on the acceptance of these issues while voicing the fears and struggles that usually aren't voiced.

     Since many of the cast are probably not conflicted with these problems and are, in fact, not country bumpkins like their characters, a lot of preparation goes into their performances. Country classics like David Allen Coe and Merle Haggard seem to play constantly during breaks in rehearsals. Brooks Adams, a lying cheating husband (in the play, of course), mentioned spending hours trying to perfect the wooden leg look, as his character lost both legs in ‘Nam.

    Perhaps most surprising of all of this is that the director is a senior at Georgia Southern. But Brooks Adams made it clear that nothing is lost because of the young age of Gage Crook. Adams, as a seasoned Averitt Center actor, states that Crook is just as good as any other director he's worked with as a cast member.

    Although the topics are pretty touchy for a light evening out and the language is very adult-friendly, the cast manages to create a homey feel to it all. The phrases are familiar to those of us who are from the South and some of the humor is based on our simple country lives without taking a jab at the way we live. The title of Sordid Lives literally means dishonesty about one's life, which turns out to be a recurring theme throughout the play. Adams describes the show as "Black Comedy, White Trash," and that's the best summary for the production.



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