‘Crimes of the Heart’ at WLT
Winchester — The Magrath sisters are each dealing with their own personal demons.
Oldest sister Lenny has taken care of everybody but herself for years and is feeling the strain and loneliness.
Middle child Meg is back home in Hazlehurst, Miss., after a failed attempt at a singing career on the West Coast.
The baby of the family, appropriately named Babe, is out on bond from jail after shooting her senator husband.
Add to the fact that the sisters’ grandfather is dying, and the scene is set for a great deal of drama in Winchester Little Theatre’s production of “Crimes of the Heart,” director Barbara Swink said.
“I want people to be moved by these young women, to forgive them for their shortcomings, to laugh some, and perhaps grow a little themselves,” said Swink, of Winchester.
The play will run this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 15-18, and 22-24 at the theater, 315 W. Boscawen St. Tickets are $18.75 for adults, $16.75 for seniors, and $14.50 for students.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning drama by Beth Henley is a relationship story with heart, which is why Swink said she has wanted to direct it since it premiered in 1980.
She is hoping audiences who see the play will appreciate all the elements she loves about it — “good dialogue, layers and layers of nuances, comedy, and drama. I like the people in it. They are flawed like real people.”
Katie DeFiglio of Winchester plays Lenny, a shy but nurturing woman who feels compelled to take care of others and often lets them walk all over her.
Like Swink, DeFiglio loves the layers in “Crimes.” There are some major events in the sisters lives going on in the present, but they are also facing memories of events from their pasts, she said.
The three sisters have lived through some rough times, including the abandonment of their father and suicide of their mother when they were younger.
“People will be drawn into a great story,” she said. “I know I just want to go hug my sister after playing with two other people as my sisters. You want to be with your own family.”
Even at their worst, these sisters love each other and are willing to be there for one another to offer support, said Meagan Haynes of Strasburg, who plays Meg.
Growing up, Meg was the extrovert of the family, always singing and dancing and convinced she had a future in show business. But the face people put on in public isn’t always real, and the play doesn’t flinch from looking beneath the facade, Haynes said.
Having such an amazing story in the theater has been wonderful because the space enhances the intimate feel of the play, she said. “You really are a fly on the wall in these women’s lives.”
Despite the fact that she just shot her senator husband, Babe is a caring and sensitive woman, especially with her sisters, said Paige Bailey of Stephenson, who plays the youngest sister. She is also an abused wife hiding her own secrets.
“What I like about Babe is that although she has had a lot of bad things happen to her — all three of the sisters have — she tries to stay very positive. She reaches out for the positive,” Bailey said.
None of the sisters want to feel alone, and “Crimes of the Heart” is as much about three very different women bridging the gap between them as it is about dealing with their individual burdens and struggles, Bailey said.
Rounding out the six-member cast is Colt Scott of Strasburg as Doc Porter, James Schlosser of Front Royal as Babe’s lawyer, Barnette Lloyd, and Rhonda Kisner of Inwood, W.Va., as the sisters’ cousin, Chick.
The play takes place in Lenny’s home in 1974 with a set designed by Swink and dressed by Chris Frear. Tom Schultz created the lighting design, and Theresa Apple is the costume designer.
Winchester Little Theatre’s production of “Crimes of the Heart” opens Friday at the theater, 315 W. Boscawen St. Tickets are $18.75 for adults, $16.75 for seniors, and $14.50 for students.
— Contact Laura McFarland at email@example.com