ETC Explores The Darker Side Of Family In Comedy By Beth Henley

Monday, September 18, 2017
Casey Keelen as Babe
Casey Keelen as Babe
- photo by Christy Gallo

Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga will present Crimes of the Heart in two weekends starting Oct. 13 and ending Oct. 22. Performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday afternoons. 

Review for Crimes of the Heart: 

Beth Henely has a knack for creating strong female characters through her plays and Crimes of the Heart is no exception. Centered on three sisters, the story comically delves into the lives of Lenny, Meg and Babe. Each sister is knee deep in her own problems, but somehow they all manage to come together and create a beautiful story of acceptance and love. 

Set in the sweltering backdrop of Hazlehurst Mississippi, the Magrath sisters are still grieving the loss of their mother, who took her own life and the life of their family cat. Lenny is faced with the onset of her 30th year while still single and lacking any direction in her life. Meg, having returned to Hazlehurst, is not quite the famous singer she always thought she would be and Babe’s new marriage has ended in a literal hail of gunfire. Though each sister is drowning in a mess of their own, they somehow still manage to create a bond and support system that may be strong enough to hold their whirlwind of a family together. 

Deborah Meeks, in her second production as director speaks of the richness of what Crimes of the Heart offers. “I think the overall idea of the play is multi-faceted. Yes, it is about those “crimes of the heart” that when left unattended send us on a downward spiral of self-destruction. But it is also, most certainly, about overcoming. It is about identity and self-worth. It is about relationships and what binds us together.” 

“One of the relatable aspects of Crimes of the Heart is the way Beth Henley so genuinely portrays human relationships,” said actress, Jennifer Arbogast Wilson. “Most notably through the unyielding devotion and commitment these sisters have to one another. Even in the midst of life’s turmoil and the aggravation of life-long sibling feuds, these women have a bond that brings them together to protect and encourage one another, and they share unconditional love. I can’t wait to work with the amazing people in this cast and bring this story to life.” 

Tickets are $15 General Admission and $10 for students. More information can be found at or by calling 987-5141.

Performances will be held at the new Midtown Central facility in Brainerd at 5705 Uptain Road.

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