Columbus State University's production "Anton in Show Business" focuses on three actresses of wildly varied backgrounds pursuing their dream of performing in a San Antonio, Texas, community production of Anton Chekhov's "Three Sisters."
Director Anne Thibault said it gives the audience a look at the inner workings of putting on a play. The satirical, backstage comedy also pokes fun at American culture.
Thibault promises the show isn't too "inside baseball," so audience members won't need theater experience to understand the plot.
Parents probably want to leave the kids at home, though. Thibault says this is definitely an R-rated show.
The cast is made up of three women. Jordan Demers plays Holly, a television star who hopes a serious drama will help her be taken more serious; Joanna Roberts plays Casey, a professional actress who has been in more than 200 plays but has never been paid; and Chelsea Dunham plays Lisabette, a third grade teacher.
Dunham was in CSU's production of "Three Sisters," that performed last year.
The characters don't get along very well at the beginning of the play, but by the end of the show, things have changed, Thibault said.
Thibault, originally from Toronto, spent 15 years working as an actor and director in New York City. She moved to Columbus after falling in love with a soldier stationed at Fort Benning.
"I never imagined the riches of arts in Columbus," she said. She is now with Empowered Youth of Columbus, which is part of CSU's Continuing Education Division.
Thibault is excited to present this play and to work with this all-female cast. She would like to see more female playwrights and stronger roles for women.
The playwright of this show, Jane Martin, is shrouded in mystery. She shuns publicity and there are no photos of her or interviews with her. It's speculated that Jon Jory, the retired artistic director of the Actors' Theatre of Louisville, Ky., is Jane Martin, but he has denied it. He has accepted her awards, which include two Best New Play awards from the American Theatre Critics Association. She's also been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Another theory is that a group of people write Martin's plays. She is known to be "America's best known, unknown playwright."
Thibault and the cast hope the audience laughs a lot and enjoys the show.
"You'll feel like you're part of the play," Demers said.