Comedy at the beach: TCT to stage ‘Dixie Swim Club’

By M. Scott Morris / NEMS Daily Journal


TUPELO – The years may come and go, but friendships endure in Tupelo Community Theatre’s production of “The Dixie Swim Club.”
Some 20 years ago, five women competed on their college swim team. They formed bonds that they strengthen every year during a girls’-only weekend at the beach on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
“They are so close that they can fight and get over it. When they get together, it’s a little bit of comedy and a little bit of drama,” said Lynn Nelson, who plays Vernadette. “It’s not really dramatic, but poignant. There are poignant moments, and it is hysterically funny.”
All of the action takes place in the same beach house. The show will open in 1979, then visit 1984 and 1989 before stopping in the present day.
The time-travel aspect of the show requires costumes and wig changes, as well as attention to detail.
Director Cheryl Sproles said it’s important to make sure all of the props are from the correct time period. It helped that part of the charm of rental beach houses is they don’t change much over the years.
“But they didn’t have cute little brooms in 1979,” Sproles said. “They had straw brooms. It’s little things like that to keep track of.”

Diverse characters
Getting the tiny details straight keeps the focus on the stories playing out on stage.
“They’re very diverse women, every one of them is different from the other,” Sproles said. “From a nun to a lawyer; we’ve got a coach; we have a professional decorator and a school teacher. They all have their stories.”
Renee Baldwin portrays
Sheree, the captain from the swim team who retains her leadership role through the decades.
“But nobody falls into a stereotype,” Baldwyn said. “That’s what I love about the show.”
Playwrights Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten have earned a community theater following with their Southern-style comedies, including “Dearly Beloved,” which TCT presented last season.
“The Dixie Swim Club” continues the Jones Hope Wooten tradition of putting strong characters together and letting the fun happen.
“I think any- and everybody would enjoy it. It’s great for a girls’ night out, but I wouldn’t limit it to that,” Baldwin said. “The way we talk about men, you guys will have a good time, too.”

Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or scott.morris@journalinc.com.