Nothing will be kept off the table when the Georgia College Department of Theatre and Dance opens the 2019-20 season Oct. 2 with Robert O’Hara’s play titled “Barbecue.”
The show features multiple twists and turns that will have audiences going from boisterous laughter to silent contemplation. Not only that but “Barbecue” also has two casts (taking the stage at different times) playing the same characters and wearing the same costumes — one all-white and the other all-black.
An outdoor family barbecue serves as the setting for the play, but there’s, of course, much more to it. The get-together is a cover-up as four siblings invite their crack-addicted sister Barbara to attend so they can hold an intervention in hopes of straightening her out (one sister watched a TV show on interventions, so she knows exactly how they’re done). Problem is, all the family members are far from angels themselves, and most are facing their own form of addiction, whether it be drugs or alcohol. The group comes together and gets candid in a way only families can. The reason for the aforementioned cast change is explained and culminates in a huge twist that The Union-Recorder was sworn to secrecy to protect.
“This is real life, and I think it’s important to bring this type of content to Milledgeville,” said director Valeka J. Holt. “It’s the same as when we did ‘Crowns.' It’s a new audience, a new way to think, and a new perspective. We’re continuing to bring new things not only to this college but also to this region.”
While “Barbecue” is a play about family dynamics, it is in no way family-friendly. GC Theatre and Dance Department Chair Dr. Karen Berman say this show is for mature audiences only (and she really means it) due to the sheer amount of foul language.
“We’re already writing the apology letter to audience members who are offended,” Berman said. “The language in this play is beyond anything we’ve ever done.”
In addition to the twist, there are a couple of surprises in store for opening night, which comes Wednesday, Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m. in Russell Auditorium. There will be five showings in all coming 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday as well as a matinee Sunday at 2 p.m.
“Barbecue” kicks of GC Theatre’s 2019-20 play season themed “A Season of Power Plays and Class Acts.” In this play’s case, “class” refers to the lower socioeconomic standing the family was brought up in. As for “power plays” — well, that comes to light in a big way in the second act.
“Don’t judge these people, because they’re real,” Holt said. “These are real families. The playwright O’Hara — what I love so much about his writing is that he doesn’t censor anything. It might make you uncomfortable to read it or hear it, but when you are really truthful with yourself you know this family and these people.”
“What theatre does is bring human behavior to light, so we’re expressing the human experience in all of its forms,” Berman added. “This is subject matter that we haven’t really dealt with before. It’s a socio-economic class that we haven’t explored yet on the main stage. We’re asking people to see humanity.”
“Barbecue” opens Wednesday night in Russell Auditorium and runs through Sunday. Tickets may be purchased in advance online (www.gcsutickets.com) or at the door the day of the show. General admission is $14 while Georgia College faculty/staff and senior citizens get in for $10. GC students may purchase tickets for $5. For more information regarding this and future productions, call 478-445-4226.