By Alicia Couch Payne
The second production by Theatre Buford is a WWII era play, See Rock City. Theatre Buford was announced back in February of this year as the resident theatre company for the Buford Community Center’s Sylvia Beard Theatre. Their first production at the BCC was a hit with the play Damn Yankees. See Rock City had their opening weekend August 10th – 12th. The play will run through August 26th.
See Rock City is the sequel to Last Train to Nebroc by Arlene Hutton. The main characters who are new to marriage are Raleigh and May. Their mothers play a large part in telling the story set at the end of WWII. This play tells of struggles that everyone can relate to, of finding one’s purpose in life. Raleigh, who has epilepsy is denied from serving in the military and cannot hold a factory job because it triggers his seizures. He faces criticism from his mother and scorn from the townsfolk who call him a coward. His wife May is a high school principal who at times gets wrapped up in her work.
The war and its end have caused tragedy and hardships that they must overcome. It causes Raleigh and May tension in their marriage. They each must search their hearts to save their marriage. Each must make sacrifices and leave their comfort zones.
The opening weekend for See Rock City happened to fall near my friend’s birthday who had never been to see a play before. I decided to take her to the play even though I normally steer clear of plays or anything else that requires me to be still and pay attention for more than 30 minutes.
I worried that a play with only four actors in the entire production would not be able to hold my attention. Could a play with essentially a simple plot and a small cast really keep my attention for the full 90 minutes it was performed?
See Rock City is a funny, heartwarming production. The cast of Amelia Fischer (May), Chris Harding (Raleigh), Gay H. Hammond (Mrs. Brummett), and Lala Cochran (Mrs. Gill) do an excellent job of engaging the audience with the witty banter. They really bring so much life to the story. I found myself feeling emotional during the different scenes. It was like I was part of their story. I laughed many times during the play. I wanted to smack Mrs. Brummett for being so dense and cruel towards her son Raleigh. I felt a warm affection towards May’s loving mother Mrs. Gill. I felt the love between husband and wife, Raleigh and May. I even found myself with tears in my eyes a time or two.
I left the play completely in love with Raleigh and May. I wanted to know where life would take these characters. I found myself smiling because finally, a play managed to keep my attention for its entirety and want more.
Theatre Buford Co-Artistic Directors Julie Skrzypek and Justin Walker sat down with me after the play to discuss the production and Theatre Buford’s mission. They praised the Buford Community Center and Sylvia Beard Theatre as being a first-class venue to host their productions. When asked why they formed Theatre Buford they said that they wanted to be able to provide more work for actors in the area, as well as, bring “exceptional storytelling to the city of Buford” through their productions.
I thoroughly recommend if you can to catch one of the remaining performances for See Rock City. You will not be disappointed. For more information on this performance visit www.bufordcommunitycenter.com/event/see-rock-city-presented-by-theatre-buford.