Councilman Lawrence Mayfield (Dwayne Kennison) and Mayor Ruth Ellen Eberhart (Charlie MaGhee Hughes) plot their next move.

Bonnie Gifford
Contributing Writer
 
The Pocahontas County Drama Workshop is pleased to announce the cast of this year’s production, The People on the Edge of Town. 

The two-act drama, written by West Virginia playwright A. J. DeLauder, tells a story of small town politics and family dynamics in the fictional town of Constance, West Virginia.

The play’s primary character is Ruth Ellen Eberhart, a successful businesswoman who returns to her hometown as interim mayor with the goal of bulldozing and/or relocating an unsightly trail-er park on the outskirts of town.

Drama Workshop newcomer Charlie MaGhee Hughes is delighted to add Ruth to the collection of strong but complicated women she’s played in college and community theatre productions, which included: Sylvia in The Women, Natasha in Rough Crossing, Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Miranda in The Tempest, Joan of Arc in Chamber Music, The Queen in Alice in Wonderland, Martha in Arsenic and Old Lace, and Amanda in The Glass Menagerie. In her everyday life Hughes is a teacher in the county and a poet.

Rhonda Pritt will take on the role of Chrissy Steringer, Ruth’s estranged best childhood friend who now runs the trailer park and definitely wants to be a part of decision-making, as it will affect not only her home and family, but those of many others who live in the park.

Pritt is a former Miss Pocahontas whose previous theatre experience includes A Christmas Carol, at the Princess Playhouse in Mt. Hope, and Pickadilly, a comedic production in the late ‘80s in Pocahontas County.  When not working at The Southern WV ENT Clinic in Ronceverte, she enjoys gardening and being a professional photographer for RP Rose Photography.

Chris Curry will portray Ruth’s childhood friend Nick McGarrity, who has taken the council seat of his ailing father and who opposes moving the park because the residents are the best customers of his gas station and quick mart across the road. 

Curry is a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, who moved to Pocahontas County in 2008.  He appeared as an extra in the movies The Dark Knight Rises and the locally-shot Angel’s Perch. Curry previously portrayed villain James Larrabee in the Drama Workshop’s Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure, in 2015. He also performed in the short plays Pumps and About the Baby during 2016’s Opera House PlayFest.

Longtime Constance councilman Lawrence Mayfield is a local antiques dealer who is definitely in favor of moving the park.  Dwayne Kennison’s portrayal of Lawrence will be his seventh performance with the Pocahontas County Drama Workshop since his 2009 debut in The Comet of St. Loomis. He is a published writer, poet, songwriter and entertainer. He acted in the film Angel’s Perch, and plays drums and sings for the rock band Cold Ethyl and The Wabbit Brothers. He is the WVMR Station Coordinator/Under- writing Director for Allegheny Mountain Radio and the host of the Saturday AMR Radio Show, “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere.”  He lives with his wife and two adult children in Marlinton. 

Lawrence’s ex-wife, Agnes Engel, another longtime council seat-holder, struggles to maintain her fragile grip on reality after heartbreaking personal tragedy.  Agnes is played by Arla Ralston, who has performed in many theatre productions with the Charleston Stage Company and the Kanawha Players. She has written plays that received awards from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the Mid-Atlantic Arts Council. She portrayed Mary Todd Lincoln and Louisa May Alcott as part of the History Alive! Program funded by the West Virginia Humanities Council.  Ralston also directed Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure in 2015.

“It has been a pleasure working with and getting to know these actors,” director Eric Fritzius said.  “It’s such a collaborative process to put on a play like this, and the characters and, indeed, the fictional town of Constance itself, all have backstories that are sometimes not spelled out.  It’s been a fun journey, exploring Constance and its flawed population together.” 

The People at the Edge of Town will be performed Friday, May 19, and Saturday, May 20, beginning at 8 p.m. at the Pocahontas County Opera House in Marlinton.

Tickets are $10 and available at the door. 

The public is invited to attend a free dress rehearsal Thursday, May 18, at 7 p.m.

 For more information call 304-799-6645 or visit http://www.pocahontasoperahouse.org/