Dive in with The Dixie Swim Club

Published 11:13 am Tuesday, November 27, 2012

MAKING A TOAST TO LASTING FRIENDSHIP are the five ladies of the Dixie Swim Club: left to right, Hildy Conder, Amy Wells, Marie Stapleton, Tonya Reynolds and Ida Cooksey.

Bainbridge Little Theatre’s current comedy production, The Dixie Swim Club, opens Thursday, Nov. 29, and tells the life stories of five Southern women who became good friends while members of the same college swim team.

Their friendship endured over the years, thanks to the annual girls’ weekend get-togethers spent at the beach each August. The story focuses on four of those reunion weekends over a 33-year time span, and it records the trials and triumphs of the five very diverse personalities.

Billed as a comedy with a poignant theme, it reflects lasting friendships, change, growing older, marriage, divorce, parenting and perseverance.

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Director Dave Nelson, making his first venture into solo directing, said he has complete confidence in the five great women he has cast in the roles. He served on the play selection committee and knew then he wanted to direct it as he really liked this show — first of all, because it is funny.

“I laughed out loud when I read it,” Nelson said. “Beyond that, the characters appealed to me. There is great emotional playoff between them, and they are all nice people being nice to each other. It’s friendship.”

There are four performances, beginning Thursday, Nov. 29, and concluding Sunday, Dec. 2. All evening performances are at 7:30 p.m. and the Sunday matinee is at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets can be reserved and/or purchased online, or at the theatre one half hour before performances.

Contact the theatre at (229) 246-8345, or through their website at www.bainbridgelittletheatre.com. The theatre is located on East Troupe Street, off Broad Street.

The five BLT veteran actresses in the cast are Hildy Conder, Tonya Reynolds, Ida Cooksey, Amy Wells and Marie Stapleton.

The five expressed their views of the characters they are playing.

Conder plays Lexie, whom she describes as a vain and egotistical person who keeps her plastic surgeon’s number on speed dial.

“She’s a man magnet,” Conder declared, with a laugh, adding “Lexie is a hoot. It’s all about her, but she does make a transformation by the end of the show.”

Reynolds explains her role of Sheree, the college team captain who has never gotten over it.

“She is hyper-organized, a micro-manager, and still athletic,” Reynolds said. “She’s the planner of each reunion, and feels it is her job to make everyone else’s life easier. It is important to her to keep everything together, which sometimes annoys the others.”

Ida Cooksey plays Vernadette, who she said always seems to have a black cloud over her life.

“But she always makes a joke out of it and keeps on going,” Cooksey said. “She never lets it get her down.”

One of the biggest transformations over the years seems to be Jeri Neal, played by Amy Wells.

“She joined a convent right out of school, but she really comes out of her shell as the show progresses,” she added, with a mysterious smile.

Marie Stapleton plays Dinah.

“Dinah is a lawyer and a bit blunt,” she said. “But she is a lady with a big heart — a behind the scenes do-gooder. She always has a drink in her hand. That is her support system.”

The play was authored by the literary team of Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten.