Long time Dunwoody resident Judy Winters has turned a family event into a comic mix of misspellings, mispronunciations and misunderstandings in “Midsummer Nights’ Spell: A Play on Words” currently playing at Onion Man Theater in Chamblee.
Meet the Wingate/Benton family. Matriarch, Audrey Wingate, and her son and daughter-in-law, Carl and Angela, have traveled across country for her grandson’s wedding. It’s the morning after the wedding as the play opens in the living room of Audrey’s free-spirited daughter, Julia “Meadowlark” Wingate Benton, and her husband, Davis Benton. And these five relatives are as different as can be!
Anna House portrays Audrey, a feisty, refined lady of strong opinions and proper decorum who loves words. Lory Cox tackles the role of Julia, who also serves as our narrator. Julia tries hard to channel positive energy into every situation and has quite a challenge ahead of her. Paige Steadman plays the role of Angela, a sweet-hearted woman who constantly uses incorrect words when expressing herself and couldn’t spell herself out of a paper bag!
Rounding out the cast are Edward Davis who portrays Julia’s atheist husband, Davis, and John Zincone, who plays Julia’s quiet brother, Carl. The second act takes place one year after the first act and introduces Brandi Kilgore as the funeral director. The show is directed by Onion Man Theater’s Artistic Director James Beck (a Dunwoody native and graduate of Dunwoody High).
Onion Man has a long-held reputation as a theater dedicated to producing the works of worthy new playwrights, and relocated to Chamblee in 2016. Playwright Winters was delighted to collaborate with Beck and the Onion Man production crew to bring her show to the boards. Asked about the writing, Winters explained, “I’ve been writing since childhood – short stories, a novel, poetry. However, this is the first full-length play I’ve written. I started working on it ten years ago, but I didn’t initially think of writing a play. I was simply talking to a friend, relating some family interactions after my son’s wedding, and my friend said, ‘that sounds like a play to me.’ So, I started to write.”
This show explores what it means to be family and how differently love can be expressed by different people with very different views, in this case on spiritual matters. Says Beck, “In working on this family tale, I have been reminded how a larger truth comes into focus. The idea of love, the practical reality of loving, and the need to forgive and to accept each other have very much become present in working on this play.”
“Midsummer Nights’ Spell” continues through Nov. 9-12 with performances Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. General Admission Tickets range between $12-$16 each and are available at onionmanproductions.com. Onion Man Theater is located in the Plaza Del Sol Shopping Center, 5522 New Peachtree Road, Suite 111, Chamblee.