Newlyweds Raleigh and May are back at to start their new life in the familiar town of Corbin, Kentucky in See Rock City.
The sequel to last year's popular production of picks up about a year later, when school principal May and aspiring writer Raleigh return from their honeymoon in Rock City in the midst of World War II.
"The author’s writing is very consistent and very funny and it’s been fun to see where she has taken the characters," said Director Rob Gibb, who also directed Last Train to Nibroc. "But the show stand on its own as well. She’s woven in just enough background information, so if you didn’t see the first one, there’s no reason not to see this one because you’ll totally understand what’s going on."
Gibb said that the war has a much bigger role in See Rock City, but this play, just like the prequel, is more of a love story than anything else.
"It’s written well, so it feels like a marriage," said Jeff Bartholomew, who plays Raleigh. "There’s a lot of banter and back and forth, and humor and a lot of the things you expect to see in a married relationship.
I think the author has a great ability to write where it feels very conversational and very real and it’s fun, it’s lighthearted when there’s joking. It’s obviously got its more serious moments like the first one did as well, but it’s a very different play. It holds well on its own."
But unlike Last Train to Nibroc, this play involves both Raleigh's mother, Mrs. Brummet, and May's mother, Mrs. Gill, with whom the couple is living.
"You see in the play that the two mothers are very different in their approaches, in their views of their children and their view of life, and that adds a whole new dynamic that wasn’t in the first one," Bartholomew said.
The characters' different perspectives and opinions cause some conflcit, and leads to an examination of each relationship, and each person. Raleigh cannot serve in the Army, or hold a steady job due to a medical condition, which puts some stress on the family.
"May is busy, she’s taking care of her family, she’s working. She doesn’t really have time to sit and think about the situation much, and Raleigh does," said Kristen Levy, who plays May. "He’s not working. It creates kind of an internal thing for him. I think every character views that living situation differently and that comes out sometimes."
Erin Bunting, who plays Mrs. Brummet, agreed, noting that contrast between how all three women handle the situation is also a big part of the story.
"It’s hard for [Raleigh], and his mother criticizes him for being lazy, and he’s not, he just isn't able to do the things he wants to do," she said. "May and I are interesting counterparts because she and Mrs. Gill are trying to build him up and I’m kind of tearing him down. The women really control the flow and the trajectory of the story. The three women in this play really have so much influence over what happens ultimately, but they are each strong women in their own ways."
Not only are the characters and their relationships relatable, the wartime issues are also something U.S. citizens are dealing with today.
"What makes it even more relevant is tht the war has ended and the GIs are coming home. That’s happening now," he said. "And there’s not a lot of jobs to go around. That’s affecting the whole economy. There’s actually reference to the GI bill, and actually just in the last month that was kind of reintroduced for the Iraqi veterans, so it’s actually kind of timely in a lot of different ways."
But in the end, it's really about the love between May and Raleigh, said Erin Bunting, who plays Mrs. Brummet.
"When you boil it all down, it’s not about the war and it’s not about women’s roles and men’s roles, even though those are elements of the story," she said. "It’s a love story. It’s a really intricate and textured story about these peole and how they’re going to deal with the difficulties of life."
The play-picking committee liked the first two plays so much, that they've already put the third play in the trilogy on next year's schedule, Gibb said.
The curtain goes up at 8 p.m. Thurdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays. To purchase tickets, visit the Box Office or call 440-331-0403.