Grand Bahama News

A night of revealed secrets brings audience back to Regency Theatre

When the curtain raised for scene one of Sue L. McCrea’s stage play “Trapped in Marriage” Thursday evening, it marked the official return of The Freeport Players’ Guild live performances at the newly restored Regency Theatre.

An educator, McCrea, who wears many other hats, including actor and director, writes under the name S. L. Sheppard.

“Trapped in Marriage” gave the audience what is expected from an S. L. Sheppard production – comedy, drama and emotional outbursts.

In an interview with Grand Bahama News on opening night, McCrea said it was a delight being back in the theater.

“We have been on hiatus for three and a half years, while we tried to renovate the Regency which suffered an extreme amount of damage in Hurricane Dorian,” McCrea explained.

“So, being back is awesome!”

The play is about four couples, three of whom are married, and the changes that happen in marriages and relationships over the years.

McCrea said the characters are very diverse.

“There is a young female lawyer, Zolita, who thinks she knows what she wants; the man, Brian, who is desperately in love with her and wants to marry her, but doesn’t understand the very complicated woman at all,” she said.

“Then, there is Rasheed, who has been philandering most of his married life, and Carol, his wife, who accepted his free-loving ways, but suddenly realizes maybe she doesn’t want to take it anymore.”

She continued, “The third couple, Gerron and Yvette, who were passionate about each other – are still – but they can’t get past the anger. However, they must find a way to get back the passion they had.

“Finally, there is Morgan and Mark. She is an older woman, who has found her nice ‘toy-boy’ husband and they learn how to understand each other. They are sort of the mirror couple for the others.”

McCrea noted that she not only wanted the audience to leave having enjoyed returning to the theater, but thinking, whether they are “trapped in marriage”.

The play’s question of being trapped or not unfolds at a dinner party the couples attend. There is unreciprocated flirting, secrets are revealed, fights break out and friendships are tested.

The experienced cast members – Demetria Sherman, Tempestt Stubbs, Melanie Jessel, Lorine Miller, Antonio Guarro, Kenrick Blatch, Jeffrey Swain and Sharade Taylor – were excited to return to the stage.

“I’ve missed being on stage and I can’t wait to get back out there tonight,” said Sherman, who played Zolita Walkes, the female lawyer.

Sherman noted that during rehearsals, she did not realize the full impact of returning to the stage.

“But at dress rehearsal, being in makeup and everything, it hit me,” she said.

“So, I am anxious and I know theater-goers are, too. I have spoken to several people and they missed having productions in the Regency, just as the actors missed being on stage.”

Miller, who plays Morgan Linden, said it was exciting being back on stage and reunited with the playwright.

“My first performance was back in 2017 in an S. L. Sheppard production,” she said.

“So, it’s good to be back from that long break in this first play, after Dorian, with her again.”

Miller noted that she wanted to challenge herself to see if she still had what it takes to be on stage.

The philandering Rasheed Godet is played by Antonio Guarro who described his character as one the audience will be undecided about.

“They will be pulled between whether to cheer for him or not,” Guarro said.

“The dynamics of the characters is going to be so great. There will be a little bit of everything. The play is quite enjoyable.”

When the curtain came down on the final scene, the applause from the audience confirmed Guarro’s prediction.

Theater-goer Angela Pinder said, “I think it was a great reintroduction of stage plays at the Regency Theatre to the public. Ms. McCrea always delivers with her plays, so I congratulate the cast, director and producer.”

Next up at the Regency is the play “Romantic Fools” scheduled for March 30, 31 and April 1.

This is an anticipated event, as the play was set for performance prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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