Doubling Over In Doublewide

Bosque Arts Center’s Tin Building Theatre play "Honky Tonk Hissy Fit" brings pure comedic entertainment to the stage with two more performances this weekend

CLIFTON – The art of good comedy lies in finding the right combination of drawing out the laughter while still delivering an underlying message.

The Bosque Arts Center’s Tin Building Theatre performance of “Honky Tonk Hissy Fit,” the new, third installment of the Jones/Hope/Wooten Doublewide, Texas series, offers a double helping of everything that makes comedy fun – packing a heap of hilarity with a whole lot of heart. It brings dueling divas, the dumb one and the smarty pants, the conniving and the gullible, the totally over-the-top farce, the romantic interlude, and the profound feeling of being “stronger together.”

Last weekend, two of the TBT’s four fall play performances showcased the witty one-liners and uncountable comedic moments, which had the audience doubling over with laughter time and time again. It produced pure entertainment all the way through. Selling out for both performances, the large proportion of newcomers to the TBT didn’t have to worry that they hadn’t seen Part I and Part II of the Doublewide, Texas trilogy as the back story was expertly woven into this Part III.

The previous “Doublewide, Texas,” and “A Doublewide, Texas Christmas” two-act plays were also presented by TBT in early 2017 and late 2019. The play’s various characters with their distinct personalities – excellently portrayed by the cast – constantly fueled the comedic situations in the play. With two underlying love stories going on, could there be the hope of a double wedding at the end? In the meantime, at least two hissy fits play out between clashing personalities, not to mention the hilarious “dirty” dance sequences.

Together with the actors – some seasoned, some new and all solid stars – Director Deb Phinney, along with Assistant Director and stage manager Linda Lowrance, succeeded in bringing the colorful characters to life and delivering a stellar comedic performance. It's quite the feat considering most of the actors have full time jobs and spent several evenings a week for two months practicing for the performances.

“I love to laugh, and this play makes me laugh out loud,” Phinney said in her welcome. “And I have seen it many, many times over the past months. I have been fortunate enough to cast a great group of folks, to play this lovable and hilarious family unit along with the friends of Doublewide.

"We’ve welcomed actors who are re-creating their roles from the first two plays and then adding some new faces to round out the cast. What a wonderful group of people I have had the pleasure of working with. The humor, the romance and the hilarity of this play is what I consider fun entertainment.”

Along with stage managers Terry McDonald and Peggy Wood, Don Boysen and Steve Schmidt made the scenes meld seamlessly by taking care of the lights, the sound and the curtain.

Like a flashback to the last Doublewide comedy, Nurse Big Ethel Satterwhite, once again played by Debbie Rollins, sets the tone of the story right off the bat. Alone on the stage, she addresses the local Stairway to Heaven retirement village residents with a long monologue, filled with comedic lines and ending with “Give ‘em hell, kids.”

Rollins accomplishes the perfect mix of brusque, a bit bossy, but lovable caregiver. During the rest of the play, her resourcefulness, resilience and intuition comes into play time and time again in battling with local celebrity Caprice Crumpler, in training Baby for a dance contest and recognizing Hayward Sloggett’s dysfunctional affections for Caprice.

For the third time, Carla Sigler brings out her incredible rendition of the feisty, self-absorbed Caprice Crumpler – the ruling Queen, the entitled princess, the bar fly and the femme fatale all rolled into one. As obnoxious as the character is, the audience ends up loving her absolute fabulousness and the endless trashy, glitzy, glam costumes she brings to the set.

She represents the perfect “opposite attracts” love interest to “Droopy Drawers” Sloggett, who has no other way to express his affections to her than in endless arguments. Bryan Davis’ rendition of the grumpy, overwhelmed suitor was a superb counter to Sigler’s glittering stardom.

Belinda Epley Prince expertly portrays Caprice’s daughter Joveeta Crumpler – the town’s Mayor who navigates between curbing her mother, calming the waters and saving the trailer park from ruin once again.

It quickly became clear to the audience that Michael Richardson relished in playing the role of “Baby” – Caprice’s not the sharpest-tool-in-the-shed, gullible son. His dance competition costume – as expected – had the audience gasping and giggling, as did his daring dance moves.

Balancing out those larger-than-life personalities, Georgia Dean played by Lorana Rush and Nash Sloggett played by Brett Voss navigate the delicate balance between comedy and romance as she repeatedly avoids his marriage proposals. The heartwarming scenes in which they’re trying to get to the next step in their relationship felt real and totally relatable – which must have been hard to do literally surrounded by all the wackiness.

Seventeen-year-old Cranfills Gap High School junior Halie Patrick playing Nash’s daughter Lark Barkin debuts as a natural stage talent. Throughout most of the play, Lark flies through scenes on an endless tremor-inducing, caffeine kick after she discovers caffeine for the first time, which Patrick keeps up effortlessly. And in the process, she still pulls off being cute and lovable.

As the story’s antagonist Harper Channing, Connie Terry brings a wonderful mix of Austin “charm” and corporate BS to the role. Convincingly sweet and interested in the Doublewide residents in the beginning of the play, Harper flicks the switch to mean, ruthless corporate representative once she achieves her deceitful goal.

Each and every one of the play’s hilarious scenes – from Baby’s dance-off preparations, Harper’s hostile take-over antics, the performance as vegetables and fruits at the Tater Tots Daycare, the Doublewide double love interests, as well as the push and pull of the antagonizing characters – had the audience doubling over with laughter.

To be sure, most of the audience would love to see more installments of the Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jaime Wooten “Doublewide” comedies located at a tiny Texas town slash trailer park with the parade of colorful, salt of the earth characters and their antics to hold on to their distinct, lovable way of living.

For those wanting to see this uproarious, rollicking “Honky Tonk Hissy Fit” play, there will be two more performances at the Tin Building Theater on Friday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. and a dinner theatre on Saturday, Oct. 24 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets may be purchased in person at Bosque Arts Center, by calling the BAC at (254) 675-3724, or online at bosqueartscenter.org. 

Introducing The Cast

Bryan Davis got the acting bug as a kid when he played a munchkin in an elementary school production of “The Wizard of Oz.” He’s been an active member at TBT for four decades now. During those years he’s worked on the cast and crew of more than 80 plays and directed more than a dozen shows, most recently the first two “Doublewide, Texas” comedies. Bryan is a retired postmaster with two grown children who loves cooking, gardening, and writing. Bryan has loved being on stage again and working with such a talented cast of friends.

Halie Patrick might be new to the TBT stage, she's no stranger at the Bosque Arts Center. Halie is a familiar face when it comes to helping out with BAC and TBT events. Currently a junior at the Cranfills Gap High School, she performed in the high school One-Act Play, “Arsenic and Old Lace” as well as local community plays. With her sights set on law and the political arena, she has competed in Extemporaneous Speaking as well as Editorial Writing, and is currently competing in the Lincoln-Douglas Debates. In all of her spare time, Halie is active in the FFA and has been a cheerleader for the past five years.

Belinda Epley Prince is also a “Gap-ite.” She made her TBT debut with “The Best (Worst) Christmas Pageant Ever,” playing Mrs. McCarthy in December of 2008. Her second TBT production was in “Dearly Beloved,” playing Miss Geneva Musgrave in May 2009. Belinda performed in UIL One-Act plays at Cranfills Gap High School. She has a minor in Theater from Tarleton State University. She loves to read, work outside, being a massage therapist and spending time with her two granddaughters (Scarlett and Violett) in Florida.

Debbie Rollins once again brings Big Ethel Satterwhite to life! Debbie has entertained TBT audiences for many years. Her stage credits include “The Hallelujah Girls,” “Welcome to Mitford,” “The Dixie Swim Club,” “Christmas Belles,” “A Texas Romance,” “Till Beth Do Us Part,” “Greater Tuna,” “A Doublewide, Texas Christmas,” and most recently "Bad Medicine." Debbie has been married to John Rollins for eight years, is a retired Educational Diagnostician, a mother, grandmother of 11 grand children, and a TBT board member.

Lorana Rush has been a popular fixture on the TBT stage since her first involvement as a talented Clifton student some 35 years ago. Through the years, she has acted in numerous shows, including “Sweeney Todd,” “No Sex Please, We’re British!” “Daddy’s Dyin’ (Who’s Got the Will?), “Steel Magnolias” twice, “Welcome to Mitford,” “A Doublewide, Texas Christmas,” the spring production of “Dead to the Last Drop,” and played Olive Madison in Neil Simon’s female version of “The Odd Couple.” Most recently, Lorana served as the Director for "Bad Medicine." Lorana also serves on the TBT Board of Directors and has watched her son Jordan grow up on the local stage just like her.

Carla Sigler made her stage debut in 2016’s “Drinking Habits,” and lights up the stage again in her third hilarious performance as Caprice Crumpler in the Doublewide, Texas trilogy. Carla serves as Bosque County Treasurer and worked 38 years in education as a school superintendent in Texas and Alaska. She is involved in numerous civic organizations, including DAR, Bosque Museum, and First Presbyterian Church. Carla is also a TBT board member.

Connie Terry returns to the TBT stage after having performed in the past two BAC Variety Show Scholarship Fundraisers and "Under a Cowboy Moon." A native of Lancaster, Connie has worked in the banking industry for 34 years, and currently serves as vice-president/manager of Citizens State Bank in Clifton. She and her husband, Clifton, live at Lake Whitney and are parents to four adult children and four grandchildren. She loves reading and spending time with her family.

Michael Richardson works as the market manager of Brookshires in Hillsboro and moved to Whitney as a teenager. His passion for acting sparked when he was a dancing peppermint stick in the "Nutcracker" during kindergarten. He performed in numerous plays throughout high school. He is a TSTC graduate where he studied film and television. His hobbies include working in the garage on various projects, fishing, and doodling in a sketch book.

Brett Voss makes his first appearance on the TBT stage and returns to the theatre after almost 20 years. He first appeared on stage at age 11 when he landed the lead role as Scrooge in the Children’s Theatre one act version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Since then, Brett has directed and acted in numerous theatre productions such as “Antigone,” “Dylan,” “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” and “The Glass Menagerie,” as well as several musicals including “Guys & Dolls,” “Camelot” and “The Fantasticks” at the high school, college and community theatre levels. Brett works as the Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Goodall-Witcher Healthcare.

Director Deb Phinney made her stage debut two years ago as Geneva in “Christmas Belles.” Though a native Texan, Deb grew up in Kansas, where in college she appeared on stage in “You Can’t Take It With You,” “HMS Pinafore,” and “Bye, Bye, Birdie.” Deb has called Bosque County home for seven years now, and spends most of her time at Bosque Arts Center, where she works as Program Director.

Assistant Director Linda Lowrance has been a mainstay at TBT for over three decades. Her numerous stage credits stretch back to the 1980s and include “Blithe Spirit,” “The Hallelujah Girls,” “The Cemetery Club,” and “God’s Favorite,” and played Florence Unger in our 2018 production of Neil Simon’s female version of “The Odd Couple.” Most recently, Linda tackled her third outing as everybody’s favorite “bad girl” Patsy Price in “A Doublewide, Texas Christmas.” She has also served TBT behind-the-scenes in every capacity, including directing “The Sunshine Boys,” and starting her fourth year as TBT president.

Photos by SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS

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