Southside Theatre Guild presents an American farce

Thu, 04/30/2009 - 2:07pm
By: Michael Boylan

Southside Theatre Guild presents an American farce What did you wake up to this morning? Chris Sehllnutt, L, and Gary Morgan star in ‘Whose Wives Are They, Anyway?’ at Southside Theatre Guild. Photo/Special.

Southside Theatre Guild has staged some terrific comedies in the past and many of the more farcical shows they have presented have been set in England with a very British sense of humor. Their current production, “Whose Wives Are They Anyway” is considered an American farce and the author is a British playwright who wanted to set a farcical show in the states with an American brand of humor.

The show revolves around two executives who send their wives shopping in New York City while they go golfing at a resort on a business weekend. They meet the new president of their company, a woman played by Tammy Hyder Williams, who says, "anyone who goes off on the weekend to play golf without their wife will never work for me.” The men then scramble to produce some wives with a receptionist agreeing to play one of their wives while one of the executives agrees to play the other wife. The trouble starts when the wives of the executives show up. Soon, people are mistaking identities and trying to cover up their lies. Adding to the mayhem are the resort owner who disapproves of the shenanigans going on, the maintenance man who sees everything and a phone system that is acting all screwy. As Heather May, directing the show with her husband Jonny, puts it, “doors and phones and men in drag.”

If it sounds like a lot to control, it is, but May, a member of the cast of “Beside Yourself,” a popualr farce the theater group put on a few years ago, was up to the challenge.

“From the get go I knew that the sooner we got off book - the better our timing would be. It's a very physical show for some of the actors,” said May. “Beside Yourself was so much easier to do once I knew who I was and where I was going.”

The cast of “Whose Wives Are They Anyway” now know where they are going, which was a bit of a challenge at first because of the pacing of the play and the fact that every inch of the stage is used.

“This show requires a large set so that there is a lot of room for the action,” said May. “I measured very carefully from the edge of the proscenium to the back wall so that no space went unused.”

“Whose Wives Are they Anyway” features a cast of many familiar faces. The executives John and David are played by Gary Morgan and Chris Shellnut, while their wives are played by Diane Mitchell and May. Hyder-Williams plays the new boss of the Ashley Maureen Cosmetics Company, while Doug Stewart plays Wilson the maintenance man, Michelle Smith plays Mrs. Carlson, the head of the club and Dara Davis plays Tina the receptionist. Morgan was barrymore in “I Hate Hamlet” and Dracula in “Dracula,” while Shellnutt appeared in “A Christmas Story.” Hyder Williams was Anna in “The King and I,” Mitchell appeared in STG’s last show, “Romance/Romance” and Stewart was last in “Titanic the Musical” with Henry County Players as Officer Murdoch. Davis and Smith are new to STG but have some experience back stage. May is extremely pleased with what both them have brought to the production.

She also gives a lot of credit to her husband, Jonny, for helping her direct the show. He has handled a lot of the phone calls, e-mails and scheduling and stepped up when May had to take a small prt in the show when a cast member dropped out to take care of an ill family member.

“Having him around now that I have been learning lines and being on stage has been the biggest help,” said May. “It has turned out to be a really wise decision.”

May promises that the audience will ‘laugh until they cry.”

“I think everyone needs a night to just forget their troubles and laugh at grown-ups being totally silly for a few hours,” said May.

“Whose Wives Are They Anyway” will run at 8 p.m., Thursdays-Saturdays, Apr. 30-May 16. Tickets are $12 for Thursday performances, $12 for children under 12 and $15 for adults. Phone 770-969-0956 or visit to reserve your tickets today.

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