What happens when a man from Chicago moves to a small Southern town?
Find out in "Reality South," a new play co-written by Rachel Elliott and Jack Bagley. It's the first play produced by the brand-new theater company, the Patchwork Players Community Theatre of Pine Mountain.
Mr. Stickler, played by Bagley, moves to Huckleberry Grove, and faces culture shock as he meets people in town.
"The moral of the story is about loving your neighbors and finding common ground," said Elliott. Elliott and Bagley also collaborate in writing, producing and directing "Calliope," a television show about a young clown who wants to join her father's circus.
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When Elliott, who is directing "Reality South," cast Bagley as the northerner, she laughs merrily as she says, "I did that on purpose."
Bagley, an Army brat, didn't have to work on losing a Southern accent.
"I want to lose mine (Southern accent)," Elliott said. "But I can't. I'll always sound like I'm from Cataula, Ga."
She plays the lead character, Juanita, who has three or four jobs to pay the bills.
"She's based on me," she said. "I have four jobs. I'm a part-time nanny, waitress, housekeeper and I'm Calliope. Now, I'm a playwright."
Although she's a published poet, Elliott had never written a play before this one. Now, she's got six more to write, including a children's show based on a British mouse who appears on "Calliope."
Even though this play is "a real clean play," she's asking that children 11 and younger stay at home.
"It's not because of content," she said of the play. It's just that the venue only seats 50 and she said if a child gets bored and starts making noise or starts crying, it will not only bother other people but the actors, too.
Is she nervous?
"Oh, no," Elliott said. "I'm excited. I know this character inside and out. Even if I forget a line, I can ad lib because I live this life."
She's used to being in front of the camera, "but I'm not too experienced in doing relational acting. I really quite enjoy it. It's kind of a different experience."
'Calliope' celebrates third season
Her "Calliope" celebrated its third season premiere on WLTV-TV 38 last week.
She said the show is "real close to becoming high-definition" and she's excited about that.
It's going to be seen on East Alabama Television on Phenix City Cable.
"Calliope" is being translated into Spanish, French, German and Korean and perhaps even other languages, she said.