Starkville Community Theatre continues its season with the premiere of â€śSix Dance Lessons in Six Weeksâ€ť Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Directed by M.J. Etua, â€śSix Dance Lessons in Six Weeksâ€ť was written by Richard Alfieri and stars veteran SCT actors Lyle Tate and Marsha Williams.
The play tells the story of a Florida retiree, Lily Harrison, who hires a dance instructor, Michael Minetti. The two navigate through a touching, sometimes antagonistic, relationship.
Etua said she is drawn to the art of dance and is pleased with the works her actors have put forth during the rehearsal process.
â€śI love dance, so itâ€™s been really cool to watch the dancing process, and my actors are wonderful,â€ť she said. â€śThey are two actors that Iâ€™ve worked with before who I trust completely. Weâ€™ve had a lot of fun bringing these characters to life.â€ť
Etua said the relationship between both characters will resonate with audiences who will enjoy the playâ€™s story.
â€śItâ€™s a very sensitive story about two people from very different backgrounds coming together through dance,â€ť she said. â€śThe really neat thing to see is how both of them have very strong personalities and each have to give up a little bit of themselves in order to develop this really great friendship.â€ť
While the show only features two characters, Tate said the story allows for many enjoyable and moving moments.
â€śThereâ€™s a lot going on,â€ť he said. â€śThereâ€™s lots of laughs and some shocking and surprising times that weâ€™re going to grab your heart. These are very real people.â€ť
Williams said while the show deals with some mature subjects, she enjoys her characterâ€™s zest for life and the honest portrayal of two seemingly different people.
â€śI like Lily because she has a lot of enthusiasm for life and energy and she doesnâ€™t want to just give up and not do anything,â€ť she said. â€śItâ€™s an honest relationship between two people who develop a very caring friendship over the course of 10 weeks.â€ť
Tate said he has appreciated the opportunity to portray Minetti, a character who bears many emotional scars.
â€śHis defense mechanism is very in-your-face humor and Lily knocks that out of the way really quickly and he has to be honest with himself,â€ť he said. â€śHeâ€™s extremely real, and I think itâ€™s interesting to play a character who is gay but who has had a very different experience being gay than I ever had. I get to live through him and be more appreciative of who I am and my experience.â€ť
Throughout their relationship, Tate and Williams go through six different dances including the swing, tango, waltz, foxtrot, cha-cha and contemporary dance.
Etua said she is pleased with the dancing ability of her actors and the talent of Janis Ross, the assistant director, who choreographed each dance.
â€śI think the audience will be able to see her talent as a choreographer and her talent as a dancer,â€ť she said. â€śIâ€™ve added a little bit of a treat that I hope the audience will enjoy, and weâ€™ll have a little more dancing that the script asks for.â€ť
Etua said she believes the audience will enjoy the story of these two characters and the touching relationship that develops.
â€śPeople are going to be able to see a little bit of themselves in each character because each one talks about life and love and the experiences that shape them,â€ť she said. â€śIâ€™m just excited about the whole show, but right now we really need an audience. Weâ€™ve gotten to the point in the rehearsal process where we are so ready for an audience.â€ť
â€śSix Dance Lessons in Six Weeksâ€ť runs Thursday thru Sunday and Nov. 13-17 at 7:30 p.m. with a Sunday matinee performance at 2 p.m. The show is sponsored by Lynn Phillips-Gaines and Phillips Financial.
For more information, call the SCT box office at 662-323-6855.