The Cedar Shoals Drama Department will perform Beth Hemley’s “Crimes of the Heart” this Thursday and Friday.
Set in the 1980’s, the play revolves around three sisters Meg, Babe, and Lenny. It is a southern gothic drama about family, legacy, love, passion and murder. In the play the three sisters reunite for the first time in a while after Babe, the youngest sister, shoots her abusive husband who is rich and has a high status in their small town.
“They have to come together to learn how to be good sisters again,” Jen Dorcin, Drama president, said. Dorcin also serves as the play’s student director and also plays Chick, the sisters’ cousin.
Dorcin is the one who “Fell in love with it,” as drama teacher Mrs. Rosemary Milsap put it, explaining how the play was chosen for the student performance.
The play won the Pulitzer Prize in 1981 and was nominated for best play for the Tony Awards. Hemley wanted to capture the southern experience, setting the drama in Mississippi.
She also wanted to capture a family drama. Once the sisters have all been reunited they start to think over their lives. They think about what brought them back home and why they left.
“There’s been a lot of traumatic legacy in their lives, acknowledging where their paths have gone since they have become adults and gone into the world on their own. It’s a reconciling of that family, legacy and the choices that they’ve made as adults,” Milsap said.
The play’s plot develops several sensitive topics like suicide. The girls’ mom hung herself after their dad left them. The three girls then lived with their grandparents. Babe the youngest sister, who shot her husband, is also depressed and contemplates suicide.
“I think that it’s time we as a society have more open and honest conversations about mental health. I think putting on a play that deals with topics that real people deal with in real life is a very important conversational starter, and I think that this is a perfect age group to watch this play, and let it be a conversational starter for use of violence as a way to solve conflicts,” Milsap said.
The play discusses important topics like sucide, substance abuse, domestic violence and infertility. Each of the sisters has these problems in her life. Babe, the youngest, is in an abusive marriage and becomes suicidal. Meg, the middle child, has struggled with substance abuse since she was 14 years old. Lenny, the oldest, is infertile. Each sister has to work through their problems to come together as a real family again.
The show will be in the Cedar Shoals Fine Arts Theater. Tickets are $3 for students and $5 for adults. Performances will be on Thursday the 24th at 7 p.m and on Friday the 25th at 5:30 p.m.