“When I read [the script], I knew all these characters,” said Harris, who portrays Polly Benish, a diva actress known for taking her craft seriously. “I’ve been doing shows for about 40 years [in] community theater, from all different states and different venues. I know every one of these characters. I’ve either been them or I’ve worked with them.
“And each of these characters, if anyone has done theater before, they will recognize either themselves or someone they know or they will recognize a situation, such as forgetting your lines or screwing up your lines or missing your cue ... [or] the appeasing that goes on and the love and good-naturedness that goes [on] among actors. It’s almost like a disfunctional family in the theater. You’ve got a little bit of everything.”
Describing the play as “true to life,” Harris said the subject matter and its execution is a hilarious combination.
“I call it art imitating theater life because it is very much that,” Harris said. “But I have not laughed so hard during a rehearsal period as I have during this show. It’s been hilarious.
“I hope the audience finds it as funny as I have because I pride myself on not cracking up on stage. No matter what’s happening, I’m able to stay in character. I’ve had a very hard time doing that with this show. There’s a couple of actors in it that just crack me up.”
To be held at The Legion Theatre, 114 W. Main St. in Cartersville, “Play On!” will be presented April 19, 20, 26 and 27 at 8 p.m. and April 21 at 3 p.m. Along with Harris, the cast will consist of Rochelle Markert as Violet Imbry, John C. Walker as Billy Carewe, Will Brooks as Saul Watson, Maggie O’Bryan as Marla, Richard Goodman as Henry Benish, Tracey Baker as Phyllis Montague, Timothy Whalen as Louie Perry, Tony Bowers as Gerry and Christie Peters as Aggie Manville.
“I believe that ‘Play On!’ is kind of representative of every community theater,” “Play On!” Director Mallory Holder said. “It is a show about a community theater putting on a show and the mishaps that happen, the characters that are involved. ... It’s so much fun to do. We have a great cast. [It is] a mixture of new people and theater veterans. So it’s kind of interesting to see the new people kind of be involved and get their footing.
“Then the veterans are kind of like, ‘I’ve totally been in plays like this where everything that could go wrong has gone wrong, [such as] three days before dress rehearsal their playwright comes in with seven new pages of dialogue and a new character that she wants to add in.’ So they have to deal with that a lot. They have the playwright come in and she keeps wanting to change all this information about the play, change the character, change the murderer. So the actors in the play are like, ‘You can’t keep changing this around. We can’t keep learning new things this close to the opening of the show.’ There’s costume mishaps. There’s sound effects that go missing. It’s craziness.”
Tickets for “Play On!” are $14 for general admission, $12 for flex pass holders and pre-paid groups of 10 or more people, and $10 for Pumphouse Players members. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.pumphouseplayers.com or call 770-387-2610.