Veteran Little Theatre of Watertown member Jane Bowman Jenkins was waiting to test the waters of directing again before taking the plunge with The Dixie Swim Club.
Im pretty fussy about what I direct, said Mrs. Jenkins, who has also performed in dozens of Little Theater productions over the years. She last directed Rumors two years ago.
I hadnt come up with anything that really appealed to me, she said. I like a show with lots of humor. But I like some meat and potatoes too. Thats whats nice about this show.
The Dixie Swim Club by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten is by the same trio that wrote Dearly Departed, which Little Theatre presented last spring and encored over the summer. It will be staged beginning Thursday at the Black River Valley Club. Other shows are Friday, Saturday and Sunday and Nov. 8, 9, 10 and 11. Most are dinner-theater shows. The show-only presentations are opening night (Thursday) and on Nov. 8.
The Dixie Swim Club story concerns five Southern women whose friendships began on their college swim team. They set aside a long weekend every August to recharge those relationships along the banks of North Carolinas Outer Banks. The story spans three decades.
It has some very funny lines, but it also has some tender moments, Mrs. Jenkins said.
The play has two Little Theatre newcomers, Angela Alpaugh as eager-to-please Jeri Neal; and Georgia Gagnon as the self-depracating Vernadette, along with three stage veterans: Sarah Hovey as team captain Sheree, Elizabeth Smith as the overachiever Dinah and Tina Thompson as the pampered and outspoken Lexie.
During auditions, Mrs. Jenkins faced a pleasant problem when a large contingent showed up to try out for roles.
I can recall when we had to change shows because we couldnt get 10 for a cast, she said. Wed have to go with something with four in it.
Mrs. Jenkins said the costume changes in Dixie Swim Club pose a challenge because they have to be quick as the actresses attend several reunions in the same set.
As their lives unfold and the years pass, the women increasingly rely on one another, through advice and raucous repartee, to get through the challenges (men, sex, marriage, parenting, divorce, aging) that life flings at them, according to a synopsis from Dramatists Play Services, Inc., the plays license holder.
Its about true friendship and the things that really happen in life, Mrs. Jenkins said. But the humor is always there too throughout all the scenes.
Mrs. Jenkins noted one scene where the girls get into an argument.
They kiss and make up, she said. In real life, sometimes there are big arguments and people never make up.