“Crimes of the Heart” a three-act play by Beth Henley opens five years after Hurricane Camille, in the town of Hazlehurst Mississippi. The entirety of the play takes place in the kitchen of the house belonging to the MaGrath sisters: Lenny, Meg, and Babe. The 3 MaGrath sisters are back together for the first time in a decade. Lenny, the eldest, never left Hazlehurst — she is the caretaker of the sisters’ cantankerous Old Granddaddy. Meg, the middle sister, left home to pursue stardom as a singer in Los Angeles, but has, so far, only found happiness at the bottom of a bottle. And Babe, the youngest, has just been arrested for the attempted murder of her abusive husband, Zackery.
Beth Henley’s central theme in “Crimes of the Heart” is betrayal, particularly that of a fierce and rigid, life-denying patriarchy associated with the South. The 3 sisters around whom the play revolves have been abandoned by their father, an act which subsequently leads to their mother’s suicide. Through the dialogue and the erratic actions of the sisters, they reveal secrets about themselves that illustrate the terrible effects that their mother’s suicide and their father’s abandonment have had on each of them. Henley explores the pain of life by piling up tragedies on her characters but she does so with a dark and penetrating sense of humour. It is clear that, whatever wrong has been done to them, all three of them suffer from at least some degree of mental illness.
Over the course of the three acts, each sister confronts her own demons and finds the possibility of change. “Crimes of the Heart” is an indictment of improper parenting, an illustration of the devastation of suicide, and a rallying cry in support of the mentally ill. Themes of loneliness isolation, and humour as the greatest weapon of self-defense take centre stage throughout. Ultimately, it is a play about the need people have to share their stories with others. It carries the message that “family” means the people who are always there, whether they are blood relatives or not, and that as long as there are secrets, there will be shame.

 

“RADIO SUSPENSE THEATRE”

It’s 1945 and World War II is winding down. CPEC County Radio and The Radio Suspense Theatre Ensemble celebrate the return of Skippy Sawyer as a war hero. A romance between Skippy and Judy, the new girl, begins to develop. In the meantime, a strange woman in a cowboy hat and a raincoat is looking for the GM, Allen Burns. Allen goes missing and the company has a mystery of its own as they present two new mystery-thrillers.
Murder in Focus tells the story of a young newlywed who is caught up in a bizarre set of circumstances when she is confronted by her old boyfriend and the news that the infamous “Camera Casanova” has escaped from prison. Are the similarities between the escaped criminal and her new husband too close for comfort?
The second mystery thriller of the evening follows a famous actor who abandons his Broadway role as a serial killer in The Manhattan Strangler to assume the role for real.