“[This] means that we have exposure outside of the Cartersville community, which is great,” said Brooks, who also is the artistic director for StageWorks. “We have great support here, of course, but it’s also nice to start developing that good reputation in the greater theater community, so that we know that we have increased audience and we have other people who want to come audition for us. It really helps increase the quality of our productions overall.
“As far as set design is concerned, the play took place at the mountain home of Annie Nations and the house was supposed to be kind of rundown and that was part of the point of the story because Annie’s son, Dillard, was trying to get her to move home to live with him because she just can’t take care of the place anymore. It’s too much for her at her age. So we had to make this realistic house, but we also had to make it look a little rundown, a little overtaken by nature somewhat. So that was an interesting challenge to face, because I tend to like more stylized sets that aren’t quite so realistic. So this one was a lot of fun to do, because it’s not something that I do all that often.”
The MAT awards — to be presented Sept. 29 at The Roswell Cultural Arts Center in Roswell — recognize plays and individual performances in community and non-union professional theater.
According to www.matawards.com, “The Metropolitan Atlanta Theater Awards were founded in 1994 by Russ Ivey to recognize the hard-working actors, directors, designers, and theaters for their contributions to the performing arts in metro Atlanta. Each year the MATs celebrate these hard-working artists with a formal ceremony, presenting awards in 18 different categories of theater work.”
While Brooks celebrates her second MAT nomination, Duke is delighted to receive her first nod from the theater organization.
“I was completely shocked and thrilled and overwhelmed all at the same time,” Duke said. “This is my first MAT production and this is my first nomination. So that’s exciting.
“The cast ... they’re just stellar and they’re worth putting the effort and the time into a production with them,” she said, adding she enjoyed working under the guidance of the play’s director, Leslie McCrary. “So I was just thrilled to even be a part of that to start with. I was content with it, had no idea that this was coming, and it absolutely just bowled me over [to receive the nomination].”
In her portrayal of Holly Burrell, Duke enjoyed the opportunity to play a character at two age points.
“[‘Foxfire’] is about an Appalachian family, and there’s several other characters that are introduced into the play as it goes [along],” Duke said. “It kind of journeys them back and forth through time sequences of years gone by and then present. So Holly was a girl who had grown up on the mountain. ... She loves the people. She loves the culture, and basically the story is that she went away to college and she came back to teach on the mountain. And while she’s there, she visits with her neighbors, which is where the scene takes place.
“Dillard comes back in town and he kind of lives the high life and travels the world. She feels he’s kind of sold out. So I liked her character, because I got to play a young girl who’s in high school and then I got to play an adult woman who has returned to the mountain. She’s a supporting role to the characters, but I think that her input is important because she sees the value of life and family, and the pain from her family’s situation having to move off the mountain is what spurs her on to beg Dillard to not let that happen to Aunt Annie.”
For more information about StageWorks and its offerings, visit www.stageworkstheatreco.com.