Experimental Theater Explores Edgy Drama of 'Cavedweller'

By Mcclaran, Tamara | The Florida Times Union, October 25, 2006 | Go to article overview

Experimental Theater Explores Edgy Drama of 'Cavedweller'


Mcclaran, Tamara, The Florida Times Union


Byline: TAMARA McCLARAN

Cavedweller, an edgy drama that examines the redemptive power of love, will open Friday, Nov. 3 at the Atlantic Beach Experimental Theatre in the off-Broadway hit's Jacksonville area premiere.

"This is the kind of unusual show that I pride myself on doing," said ABET Artistic Director Barbara Evans, who is directing the show. "It's out of the norm for most theaters to pick this for their main stage. It's not a happy, feel-good show."

Based on the novel by Dorothy Allison and scripted by Kate Moira Ryan, Cavedweller tells the story of Delia Byrd, a 40-year-old lead singer of the group Mud Dog. When her rock-star boyfriend dies in an accident, Byrd decides to leave her fast life in Los Angeles and return home to rural Georgia with her teenage daughter Cissy.

Back in Georgia, she's faced with her ex-husband, who is dying of cancer, and their two daughters, Dede and Amanda, who Delia abandoned 14 years ago. Dede, the wild and rebellious one most like her mother, is on her way to becoming an alcoholic and the town tramp. Amanda, in contrast, has sublimated her anger into becoming a sanctimonious Bible-thumping fundamentalist. To rebuild her family, Delia has her work cut out.

"It's a story about love and redemption," Evans said.

Actress Karen Garrett plays Delia Byrd. She has performed in many roles in Beaches plays including Edna in A Delicate Balance last season at Players by the Sea and as Maria Callas in Master Class at ABET the previous season. Other familiar faces from the Beaches community theater scene in this production are Steve McMahon, Brooks Anne Hayes, Amy Royster and Jennifer Gagnon. The cast features several new faces, including Caressa Anderson, Scott Nicholson, Mark Mayfield and Melody Jacksonville.

Lucie Roberts, 12, a familiar face at Players by the Sea, is making her ABET debut as Cissy, Byrd's youngest daughter. …

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