Hilarious Comedy Dearly Departed Serves Up Laughter with a Side of Southern Charm
Bible-thumping, blessing someone's heart, and family dysfunction: All three are staples of the culture of the South, and all three are treated with both hilarity and poignancy in the Ruffin Theatre production of the comedy Dearly Departed, written by David Bottrell and Jessie Jones and directed by Tim Brown.
Dearly Departed tells the story of the Turpin family and their struggles to get themselves- and keep themselves- together as they plan the funeral of their "mean and surly" patriarch, Bud, and attempt to lay him to rest. Of course, nothing goes as planned thanks to a heaping-helping of sibling rivalry, personal demons, infidelity, a religious zealot Aunt, a televangelist-wannabe preacher, and a bevy of oddball family and friends to complicate matters in a laugh-out-loud funny way that anyone will find both instantly recognizable and relatable, especially those of us from the South.
"I originally thought Dearly Departed would be the typical skewering of the South that a lot of comedies attempt, and often not very well" says Tim Brown, director of the production. "However, it surprised me when I found myself laughing so hard I could barely breathe while nodding my head, thinking, 'That's happened in my family' or 'I know someone just like that'. Even more surprising, though, is the very realistic way… and moving way… it portrays its characters and their relationships with each other. I knew immediately that I wanted to direct this show."
The show stars and ensemble cast of both veterans of the Ruffin stage and newcomers, with Rheanne Williams as Raynelle, Ross McDaniel as Ray-Bud, Lauren Raynor-McDaniel as Lucille, Jeremy Armstrong as Junior/Bud, April Vincent as Suzanne, Mary Beasley as Marguerite, Luke Smith as Royce/Norval, Sara Smith as Juanita/Veda, Jessica Dunagan as Delightful/Nadine, and Jair Castro as Reverend Hernandez/Carlos. Daniel Meyers is Assistant Director and Christi Davis is the producer. The production is underwritten by the Tipton Arts Council.
Dearly Departed runs September 28th, 29th, & 30th and October 5th, 6th, and 7th. Friday and Saturday performances are at 7 pm with Sunday performances at 2 pm. Tickets will be available at the Ruffin box office on performance days and in advance online at ruffin.theater.