To hear Jonathan Thompson describe it, the Effingham Theatre’s next production is a cross between “Steel Magnolias” and “Rambo.”
The troupe will present the play “Invasion” over the next three weekends, with all shows at the Macomber Park building on Rincon’s Lexington Avenue. Saturday showtimes are 7 p.m. and Sunday shows will begin at 4 p.m. Tickets are $10.
The theatre got involved with the play when its author, Jeff Lovett, got in touch with them online.
“We have a fairly good presence with our Web site and with Facebook,” Thompson said.
Lovett sent a handful of scripts to director Tamara Tyre. After reading them, she decided “Invasion” was the one she liked most.
“With us being a community theatre and him being a Georgia playwright, we thought it would be nice to have some local stuff put on by us, rather than what we’ve written,” Thompson said. “We presented it to our board of directors, and they all got on board with it.”
The play is set in a small Texas town along the Mexican border and centers around four National Guardsmen “who have no idea what they are doing,” Thompson said.
The soldiers hear something over the radio and mistake it for an alert that Mexico has invaded.
“It’s them getting ready and what goes wrong with it. The character descriptions are what really drew me to it,” Thompson said. “It’s a cast of hopeless fellas preparing for an invasion. You’ve got one who is a gun fanatic who joined the National Guard just so he could shoot someone legally. You’ve got one who is a lazy slob of a man who wants to escape his wife for a weekend. You’ve got a computer nerd and a captain who is a pharmacist at Walgreen’s.”
The cast and crew are having fun rehearsing and staging the play, Thompson said.
“Oh, they are,” he added. “The thing lends itself well to mishaps in the play. So anytime something goes wrong, they just keep playing with it, as if it was supposed to be part of the show. Everything they’ve done as we’ve been rehearsing has been side-splittingly funny.”
When someone asked Thompson to describe the play, he said it was akin to what happens when “Steel Magnolias” meets “Rambo.”
“It’s basically the same concept as ‘Steel Magnolias’ — a bunch of actors in a single-set environment, and they talk about stuff,” Thompson explained. “In ‘Steel Magnolias,’ it’s hair and weddings. In this one, it’s guns and ammo. We just ran with the phrase, and it seems to fit perfectly.”
The guns the actors use don’t fire, “but we’ve got sound effects to make it sound like it actually does,” Thompson said.
Thompson said the play is PG-13 — “a lot of guy-based humor,” he said — and there are curse words.
“It’s nothing strong,” he said. “It’s a similar idea to when we did ‘A Streetcar Named Desire.’”
The Theatre will have a special for active and retired military personnel at the May 18 show in conjunction with Armed Forces Day. Any active or retired military, with ID and with someone who has a paid admission, gets in for free.
“It’s something to give back to the military,” Thompson said.
Also as part of the production, Lovett will do a meet-and-greet before the May 11 show from 6-7 p.m. “so any aspiring writers can know how he came up with it,” Thompson said, “and how he got it from his mind to paper.”
Effingham Theatre’s ‘Invasion’
All shows will be at Rincon’s Macomber Park building, the former Lions Club building, on Lexington Avenue next to Macomber Park.
May 4 — 7 p.m.
May 5 — 4 p.m.
May 11 — 7 p.m.
May 12 — 4 p.m.
May 18 — 7 p.m.
May 19 — 4 p.m.
All shows are $10. Military get in free for the May 18 show when accompanied by someone with a paid admission.