Fun night at Ritz next Saturday

Published 4:57 pm Friday, November 20, 2009

The Gathering, a special event at the Ritz Theatre on Saturday, Nov. 28 at 7:30 p.m, will cap off a fun reunion weekend for Greenville High School alumni. Featured performers include Carolyn Messina and Audrey Cefaly, singer Kevin Sport and musician Anthony “Wojamm” Womack.

Cefaly, one of the reunion organizers, emphasized that The Gathering is for “everyone,” not just GHS alumni. Tickets are available for pre-order at ($15), or at the doors of the Ritz Theatre on production night ($16).

Messina and Cefaly will perform Cefaly’s award-winning one-act play, Fin and Euba. The play was published as one of the Best American Short Plays of 2004 and Cefaly drew on her experiences as a teenager in Greenville to help her write it.

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“I wanted to write a story about two women sitting out back just talking about the events of the day,” she said. “I tried to keep the story very, very spare and simple, incorporating actual landmarks from my life in Greenville. Like Southside Baptist (Church) and Piggly Wiggly. I also included some of my favorite memories…some real moments that I thought would really help tell the story.”

While Messina lives in New York and Cefaly in Washington D.C. both found time to come together at a “halfway point” in Ridley Park, Penn., and rehearse, said Cefaly. Those rehearsals paid off: the play won the prestigious Strawberry One-Act Festival in New York.

Both Messina and Cefaly are “homegrown talents,” having performed in a number of Old Gym Player staged productions under Roberta Gamble in the 1980s. The pair would call Gamble and give her an update on how the play was doing in the competition.

“She was so supportive!” said Cefaly. “We made it to the finals and got the chance to perform in Harlem at the beautiful Producer’s Club. It was an amazing experience…our mothers came to support us, as did fellow GHS classmates Amy Wilson and Eve Redick. What a thrill!”

Cefaly said both her and Messina couldn’t wait to perform next Saturday night.

“Carolyn and I talked over the years about trying to stage the show in Greenville,” she said. “She and I are thrilled beyond words…to be back on the Ritz Theatre stage again, after all these years.”