Charleston Community Theatre explores family dysfunction

Carlita Dixon, Staff Reporter

The Tarble Arts Center was packed with members from the Charleston community who were ready to watch the play “Daddy’s Dyin’…Who’s got the Will?” performed by the Charleston Community Theatre Saturday night in the Tarble Arts Center.

Set in the summer time of 1986 in the small town of Lowake, Texas, “Daddy’s Dyin’…Who’s got the Will?” is a play about a father named Buford Turnover who has recently suffered a physically as well as mentally disabling stroke. His four adult children arrive at the family’s homestead to spend time with him during his last days.

The family was dysfunctional, with each of them having multiple different and unique personalities. A lot of chaos and drama took place within the family throughout the play. Two of the sisters got violent during its climax.

The brother Orville, played by Cory Knechtges, senior theatre arts major, was also very verbally and physically abusive to his wife Marlene, played by Meghan Kegeris. Despite their differences, the family was still able to come together to practice the song they would be singing at his funeral at the end of the play after Buford’s death.

The setting of the play was entirely in the Southern family’s living room. Seating was placed close to the stage to provide a more intimate experience.

There were singing and parts of guitar and piano playing in this play.

The audience responded to the play with laughter at the several moments; during some of the more emotional scenes of the play, some of the audience was crying.

Audience member Sherry Walker has seen the play multiple times.

“This is my third time coming to see this play. Every family goes through different things and just the feeling of family is a great thing to have,” Walker said.

Sara Gronstal, a communication studies professor, said she enjoyed Mama Wheelis’ acting.

The cast members connected with their characters throughout the play.

Tanille Yow Ulm, who played the youngest sibling Evalita Turnover, said she could relate to her character.

“I think that there is a little bit of Evalita in everybody that just wants to come out,” Ulm said.

Kegeris, who played Marlene, said she had an amazing time working with all of the other actors and also enjoyed her character in the play.

“She was a little spitfire,” Kegeris said.

Director Richard Jones, Jr. said his vision for this play was for it to be relatable.

He said he really wanted to show the interesting family dynamics and to allow the humor of this family to also show.

Jones said he sees different aspects and characteristics of these characters in his own family and community.

“I’m actually from the South and so I grew up with these types of people,” Jones said.

Carlita Dixon can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].