Kicking off the season Oct. 5 with the sentimental comedy “Dixie Swim Club” was a no-brainer for Director Tim Timmer of the Farmington Players.
Written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, the play follows five women who meet on a college swim team and remain friends for 55 years, reconnecting one summer weekend at a beach in North Carolina.
“These women go through so many trials and changes. They go through divorces; they go through death; and they go through growing older together. It’s just a wonderful, wonderful show,” Timmer said.
In an effort to recharge their friendship each year, the women leave men, children and work behind as they head to the beach house to let loose and enjoy life. Sheree Hollinger, played by Anne Craft, of Wixom, is “mother hen” to her friends, the one who organizes the trip each year. Julie Yolles, of Birmingham, was cast as Dinah Grayson, the wisecracking power attorney who can never find time for a man; and Erin Osgood, of Brighton, plays Lexie Richards, who can never keep a spouse, but does manage to see her plastic surgeon often. Jeri Neal McFeeley, played by Kandi Krumins, of Waterford, is the sweet former nun who stumbles on the stage to reveal a big surprise, but the scene-stealer — according to Timmer — is schoolteacher Vernadette Simms, played by Deb Rockey, of Milford.
“These women have been friends for over 50 years. They know everything about each other. … I think that’s really special,” said Craft.
The play focuses on four weekends during the 55-year friendship, and highlights all of the changes in hairstyle and fashion.
“The play starts with the first scene being 22 years after graduation, so they are 44 years old. It kind of introduces the characters. The next scene is five years later, they are in the same beach house, the same place, but everyone has grown and aged, now they are 49. The next scene after that is five years later, so they are 54. Then the last scene, they are 77, so these women age 33 years basically before the audience’s eyes,” Timmer said.
Craft stressed that it’s important that people don’t think the play is just a chick flick.
“It’s not,” she said. “There’s something for everybody. Men can relate because we complain about men and we talk about men, and women can relate because we talk about men and we complain about men. We share family issues and relationship issues, and it’s just a really funny show. It’s very true to life.”
The Farmington Players version of the play combines live stage with video to take the audience back in time, according to Timmer.
“There’s a video presentation between scenes, which takes us back to when the girls met on the swim team and gives the women a chance to change outfits and age,” Timmer said, adding that students from Thurston High School in Redford Township portray the five friends in the video of their younger days. “In a nutshell, I wanted the audience to actually believe that these women are aging in front of them. They can see changes.”
The Dixie Swim Club runs Oct. 5-27 at the Farmington Players Barn, 32332 W. 12 Mile Road in Farmington Hills. Tickets cost $16 for adults, and students get $2 off any performance. Groups of 10 or more will receive discounts. Reserved seats for the comedy, sponsored by the Mall, Malisow & Cooney P.C., are available at www.farmingtonplayers.org or at the box office by calling (248) 553-2955.