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Black Swamp Players kick off new season


Members of The Black Swamp Players will be performing “Dearly Departed” this month. Tickets are available at Grounds for Thought.

The Black Swamp Players will start their 2014-2015 season with a production of the comedy “Dearly Departed.”

Cast member Ben Forman described the play as a “Southern comedy about a family with quite a lot of issues.”

The play begins with the death of the family’s patriarch.

From there, the play is about an “oddball family gathering together,” said director Lane Hakel.

One oddball, played by Forman, is named Junior, the middle child of the deceased.

“He’s kind of an idiot, but an idiot with big ideas,” Forman said. “Just not the brains to follow through.”

Other family members include Royce, the nephew of the deceased, and his mother.

They “can’t stand each other, but love each other just the same,” Hakel said.

By the play’s end, the characters realize the importance of family, Forman said, and they’re in a better place than where they started.

Though the play’s events are set in motion by a death, it isn’t a sad production.

It’s a “hilarious play,” Hakel said, with “lots of clever one-liners.”

One of Hakel’s favorite lines is, “‘No one liked you before. What makes you think they’ll think less of you now?’”

The cast of 11 people is larger than an average cast in a BSP production.

First-time director Hakel praised the cast, saying, “They really inhabited the characters and made them their own.”

Some cast members have performed in previous BSP productions. “Dearly Departed” is Forman’s fourth BSP show. He convinced his wife, Kristin Forman, to appear in a play for the first time.

The Black Swamp Players have existed for nearly 50 years, Hakel said. He expects the group to stick around for years to come.

Over the past few years, the average age of BSP board members has decreased about 20 years, which is good for the “long-time survival of the group,” Hakel said.

After “Dearly Departed,” the BSP will put on “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” Hakel said. The show could become an annual Christmas tradition.

The spring portion of the season will consist of “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown” and “Death By Golf,” according to the BSP’s website.

Audition information will be available on the website. Anyone can audition, Hakel said.

“Dearly Departed” opens Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. Other shows are Sept. 13, 19 and 20 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 14 and 21 at 2 p.m. All performances are at the First United Methodist Church.

Tickets are available at Grounds For Thought. Adult tickets are $12 and student and senior tickets are $10.

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