Category: Theater »
Jackson Community College play a mix of spirituality and comedy
By Bill Chapin | Jackson Citizen Patriot
October 22, 2009, 12:00AM
Dave Weatherwax | Jackson Citizen Patriot
Jeremy Moore and Ellen Francey rehearse for the Jackson Community College theater department’s production of “Messiah on the Frigidaire.”

If you enjoy theater that mixes the comedic and spiritual with thick Southern accents, this is your sign. Jackson Community College's theater department is presenting "Messiah on the Frigidaire," starting with a preview performance at 8 p.m. today.

Written by South Carolina playwright John Culbertson, the play is about the brouhaha that erupts in a small town when a "hedge-trimming incident" results in an image of Jesus — well, either him or Willie Nelson — appearing on a married couple's refrigerator.

"We are not trash because we have a refrigerator on the porch," said actor Jeremy Moore, reiterating a point made by his character, Dwayne Hightower.

Dwayne's wife, Lou Ann, is the main character. Played by Ellen Francey, she is a strong-willed woman hopeful that the icon on the appliance is indeed a miracle.

"Lou Ann's been praying for a sign from God," said Sandy DiCesare, director of the play and coordinator of educational theater at the college. "They live in a trailer park and life's just stagnant."

It doesn't take long before the porch starts attracting visitors, including the media, true believers and a sleazy politician and preacher.

"It really is about faith," Francey said. Despite everything that happens to Lou Ann "she still has such a strong faith and belief."

The set includes an actual car, on loan from Jimmie's Wrecker Service. It took 12 students in the college's stagecraft class to lift it a few inches and maneuver it into the theater.

For the cast, half the fun of the show has been speaking in a Southern drawl and learning to pronounce "police" as "PO-leece," but they also like that there's more to it than jokes about trailer parks.

"It makes you think after you're done watching it, it really does," said Jimi Bommarito, who plays city Councilman Larry Williamson.

Said Moore: "I honestly love the character relationships, how they interact and conflict. As you go along, you learn the history they have together."