Lyric Theatre gears up for play

Jodi Smith as Willa, from left, Kat Forst as Jef and Erica Ammons as Fanny rehearse a scene.

The Lyric Theatre Company will perform “Wild Women of Winedale” Friday at The Venue at Lenoir City.

“Wild Women of Winedale” is a comedy written by Jamie Wooten, Jessie Jones and Nicholas Hope.

“This play is essentially about the three wild women, two sisters, Fanny and Will, in their late 50s, early 60s, and their sister-in-law, Johnnie Faye, who ends up coming home,” Robert Harrison, director, said. “It’s about getting rid of stuff that we accumulate throughout our lives whether it’s sets of china — it’s about getting rid of stuff both physical and emotional and getting rid of stuff that limits us and damages us and hurts us. So you know, it’s a comedy. It’s very funny. But there are actually a couple of scenes that are very poignant as well.”

Plays typically run three or four shows, but this production is a one-night event, which raises the stakes for the actresses involved because “you either make it or you don’t,” Harrison said.

Jodi Smith, who is portraying Willa, agreed with Harrison that “there’s a significant difference in energy performing for 200 or 300 people instead of 60.”

Dinner will be served buffet-style and catered by the Loudon High School culinary arts department.

“We’ll open up about 6 (p.m.) and start serving at some point in time,” Harrison said. “You know, if we have 300 people it might take us a while to get them all through the buffet. Then the show starts at 8 (p.m.). We’ll have bottles of wine on the table for people to help themselves. And we have tables for 10 ($40 for each seat) and tables for 2 (for $100).”

A production by the same playwrights sold out last year.

The Lyric Theatre Company started in the Lyric Theatre in downtown Loudon in summer 2013. The theater group is looking for a new home.

“We were in rehearsal for our first play in 2017 when we were told they were shutting down the theater,” Harrison said.

For now, the group moves from one place to another without a stable home in which to practice and perform.

“For a community theater group to be sustainable,” Harrison said, “they have to have their own space, they have to control their own space. And if we don’t find a space, you know, it’s questionable how long we’ll be sustainable. We just rehearse and found the space. ... If we could identify a space that could be ours, then we’re confident we could have a fundraising event, we could find donors, or at least we could attempt to and see if the community really wants us around.”

“We’re a welcoming organization,” he added. “When we had a space, we were doing six shows a year, moving toward doing eight. Setting up, resetting up, finding space just takes a tremendous amount of time and energy that could be used toward doing more shows.”

Hopes are to put on more shows this year.

“We are doing ‘Deathtrap’ the last weekend in May, ‘Come Blow Your Horn’ in September and ‘Christmas Tree Angel’ in early December,” Amy Akins, the actress portraying Doreen, said. “... We look forward to bringing this new season of plays to Loudon County and the surrounding area.”

For more information, visit www.lyrictheatre