The Trip to Bountiful at Pec Playhouse

Another stage, another world. Mounted in a space that existed as a grain elevator, The Trip to Bountiful represents the true beginnings of theater. As Marriott displays every perfect detail, Pec Playhouse uses the creativity and ingenuity of its dedicated production crew to give audiences a theater experience close to home.

Grosvenor-Johnson is Carrie Watts, an elderly woman living in a cramped apartment with her son, Ludie (Glen Wiegert) and daughter-in-law, Jessie Mae (Janet Magnuson). Her contact with the outer world is the view of the streets of Houston. Dreaming of her childhood home in Bountiful, she wants only to return to that perfect world.

Playwright Horton Foote writes of the South, concentrating on his roots in Texas. A world away from Hollywood, the inhabitants speak the language of the old South. The values remain immutable. Carrie represents that heritage, and in spite of a changing world, clings to her dreams of the past.

Michael Dice ably directs. Unfamiliar with Foote’s work, he enthusiastically endorsed A Trip to Bountiful, becoming a fan of the playwright.

Running in three acts, the initial introduction to the lives of Carrie, Ludie and Jessie Mae moves rather slowly, and Magnuson’s constant harping seems to dominate. In Act II, as Carrie makes her escape and encounters Thelma (Katie Smull) at the bus station, the pace picks up. There are moments of tension as we feel Carrie’s anxiety. Act III opens with a stunning scene change. Hidden behind black drapes is the recreation of a farm home in Bountiful. Covered with vines, shingles askew, it drew gasps, then applause from the house. That energy translated to the actors, and their characters became more real. Mark Kann as a local sheriff understanding Carrie’s need strengthened the final moments of the play.

Grosvenor-Johnson’s performance is undoubtedly her very best. We feel her grief and joy. The adult audience at opening recognized the dysfunctional family and the problems they faced.

Playing through Oct. 3, tickets to The Trip to Bountiful can be obtained by calling the box office at 239-1210.

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