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Playgoers of Lethbridge’s Savannah Sipping Society is all about friendship

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Director Lee Prindle is excited to present his third Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten penned dinner theatre for Playgoers of Lethbridge. The Savannnah Sipping Society runs at the Country Kitchen, underneath the Keg, Oct. 17-21. The $55 tickets are already selling quickly.

Linda Johnson  returns to the stage with the Savannah Sipping Society, running Oct. 17-21 at Country Kitchen. Photo by Richard Amery
“I didn’t even know it was out yet,” Prindle said noting as soon as he learned the 2016 play was out, he leaped at the chance to direct it for Playgoers of Lethbridge.
 The show features an experienced cast of four talented ladies— Linda Johnson, Shelly David, Elaine Jagielski and Jane Meaker.
“I’m very pleased with how it has gone. I’ve worked with them all before, so I know what they can do,” he said adding having the talented cast and an experienced crew, makes his job as director an easy one.

“They’re all really talented and accomplished,” he continued.

 The play takes place over a six month period during which three women undergoing their own life challenges meet after a hot yoga class and decide to have a glass of wine together.

“It is a comedy. Three women decide to go for a glass of wine after an hot yoga class on Miranda’s Veranda. One woman’s husband just died, one’s husband ran off with another woman and another woman just lost her job, so they all meet and a fourth woman joins them and becomes their life coach. So it’s all about friendship,” Prindle summarized adding because it only takes place over six months, costume changes and set design is really simple.

“But each of them does a monologue, and we have a pin light on them while they are doing it. The others are changing costumes then. So that’s different. So there are a lot of complicated light cues,” he said.

Shelly David is excited to have been in all three of Prindle’s Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten penned productions.

“I play Jinx Jenkins. That’s a humdinger of a name for a humdinger of a gal,” David described, quoting one of the lines from the play.

“All of the women are going through big life changes. My character is investigating a side business,” she noted, adding she ends up befriending the other three women and becoming their life coach.
“And in helping these women, she realizes she’s fragile and really wants to help herself,” she said.
“It’s the third show I’ve done written by these three playwrights,” she said adding she enjoys their dialogue.

“I like that it is so humourous, but it also has lessons that can be applied to real life,” she said.Jane Meaker rehearses for the Savannah Sipping Society, running Oct. 17-21 at Country Kitchen. Photo by Richard Amery
“And I like to be able to put on a southern accent, though it is really a caricature of a southern accent. But it’s fun,” she said.


“We need audience feedback and energy. It’s new every single night. You can say the lines 100 times and you’ll get a different reaction from the audience each time,” she continued.
David is also in rehearsals for Hatrix Theatre’s Nov. 15-18 (at the Nord Bridge Senior’s Centre) production of 12 Angry Jurors in which she also has a substantial role.
“I have to have a pretty rigid schedule. I knew most of the lines for that one in June. I have to put it down in my schedules,” she said.

Elaine Jagielski and Shelly David rehearse for the Savannah Sipping Society, running Oct. 17-21 at Country Kitchen. Photo by Richard Amery
“It’s community theatre, but you still have to make it a priority. It‘s not in addition to everything else, it’s parallel to everything else,” said David, who juggles rehearsals with a teaching job and family life, board meetings for two different theatre groups.

“I have two places I can go to have a cup of tea and run lines where people won’t look at me funny for talking to myself,” she grinned.

Playgoers of Lethbridge veteran Linda Johnson said being involved with two of the three Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten dinner theatres including Dixie Swim Club in 2014 has reinvigorated her interest in being on stage.

“When they write a play, it just leaps off the page,” she observed.
“And I found I really like being in plays that are all women. It‘s hard to describe why,” she added.

“But it is interesting how these four women all deal with adversity,” she said adding each of the four women gets a soliloquy, which has been an interesting experience.
“The monologues are certainly an important part of the play because they help set up the scene. Plus they give the others a chance to change costumes,” Johnson said.
Johnson plays Dot Haigler.
“ She’s a 69 year old widow. She’s kind of daffy and lonely. But she’s also a little angry at her husband who died just eight months after retiring, because they promised each other that they’d really start to live after he retired, she said, noting they had promised to learn how to salsa dance which instead she enjoys with her new friends.
“So she finds herself in a new and strange place,” she said.
 Tickets for the Savannah Sipping Society are available at Casa for $55. Dinner takes place at 6:30 with the play to follow.

 A version of this story appears in the Oct. 4, 2017 edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times/Shopper
— by Richard Amery,L.A. Beat Editor
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