Five Southern women, who might not otherwise be friends, form a long-lasting bond as members of their college swim team. They set aside a long weekend, the same time every year, to keep those friendships going.
That is the premise of “The Dixie Swim Club” a stage play by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten that opens Friday at Greenwood Community Theatre.
The play runs two weekends, with one show a day, including evening and afternoon performances.
“There are a lot of comic one-liners and a lot of poignant moments in this play, where the audience connects with the characters,” said GCT guest director Monique Sacay-Bagwell. “As soon as the five women who are playing these roles opened their mouths, I knew who was going to play what role...The five friends’ personalities couldn’t be any more different, but that is where the comedy sets in.”
Set at a beach cottage in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, this story focuses on four of the friends’ get-together weekends over 33 years, as they discuss men, sex, marriage, parenting, divorce, aging and more.
“It’s interesting to see the five characters’ physical changes,” Sacay-Bagwell said. “And, it’s a good feel kind of production. ... My metaphor is it’s like the ocean. You have to ride the waves of life and it’s easier to ride when you are together.”
Kris Long, playing Vernadette, provides comic relief with her stage entrances. This is her biggest role in a GCT production to date.
“She has been beaten down by life, but continues to fight,” Long said. “Actually, she’s a little sarcastic and I’m a little sarcastic, so the role fits pretty well. This is her happy time when she comes to the cottage. She deserves all the pity we can muster, but she doesn’t wallow in it.”
Long said her favorite scene in the play involves a “whole to-do about biscuits and it’s really hard to get through it without laughing.”
Sacay-Bagwell said people who love the stage play and film adaptations of “Steel Magnolias” will like this play.
Jill Lawrence, who plays Lexie, said being in a small ensemble cast is fun.
“I love fashion and Lexie is a fashion diva,” Lawrence said. “I don’t believe in plastic surgery for vanity reasons, but Lexie and I differ there.”
Kathie Hicks, who plays Jerri, said people who see this show will identity with characters on stage and “they will be touched by the friends’ commitment to meet every year.”
Jane Merrill, who plays Dinah, said her character is an attorney, which is Merrill’s profession in real life.
“Her job is her life and she doesn’t show her emotions,” Merrill said. “She shows love through buying gifts and her words. Dinah and I differ there.”
Alice Gilchrist plays Sheree, the leader of the pack, Sacay-Bagwell said.
“She’s the organizer,” Sacay-Bagwell said.