Getting Bud buried
Seven years ago Betty Hales directed a large ensemble cast for the first run of David Bottrell and Jessie Jones’ Dearly Departed for standing room only audiences in Waynesboro. “It was so well received that we have welcomed any other opportunities to perform the show,” Hales says.
The troupe got their first chance to bring the show to audiences again last year when they revived it at Oak Grove in Verona. This weekend they transport the goofy comedy to Charlottesville as part of the line-up of LAB space shows at Live Arts.
Dearly Departed was translated to film last year for an all-black production starring Whoopi Goldberg with the new title, Kingdom Come. The story of the show involves the death of Bud Turpin, who passes on to the Great Beyond after a stroke on the hottest day of the year. His surviving family members engage in a host of shenanigans trying to arrange for his burial.
“We bet the audience will see some of their own family members in the Turpin clan,” Hales says.
The cast includes many of the original members. Susan Clark portrays Raynelle Turpin, the mother and widow; her two sons, Ray-Bud and Junior, are played by Kevin Chisnell and Him Orkis. The boys’ wives, Lucille and Suzanne, are brought to life by Christine Fainter and Roxanne Koogler. Delightful, Raynelle’s daughter, is played by Claire Hensley. Lee Hodge plays Bud’s sister, Marguerite, and her son, Royce, is played by Michael Lafferty. Other cast members include Richard Findlay, Sandi Belcher, Tommy Crawford, Dolores Curry, and Leo Arico.
“The first time I read this play I laughed until I cried,” Hales says, “and every opportunity I have had to be involved with it has been a pure pleasure.”
After directing the show in Waynesboro, she moved to Virginia Beach and brought the play to The Actor’s Theater with a new cast. “Someone said we should take it on the road the first time we did it, and I guess maybe performing the play again and again is sort of our way of making that happen,” Hales says.
Join the hilarity at the Live Arts LAB Space, 609 E. Market St., this weekend. Dearly Departed opens on Thursday, May 23, and runs through Sunday, May 26. Curtain is at 8pm for the evening shows and at 2pm for Sunday’s matinee. $5-7 at the door. 977-4177