KATELAN CUNNINGHAM Assistant A&E Editor
It’s your average beach party with a little clinical craziness. This weekend, the Little Theatre of Savannah presents “Psycho Beach Party.”
In this play, written by Charles Busch, Chicklet is teenage, surfer wanna-be tomboy with some troubling traits. She has a multiple personality disorder. It’s “Gidget” meets “Three Faces of Eve.”
Originally performed off-Broadway in 1987, Busch dressed in drag to star as Chicklet, “but we are not doing that here in Savannah,” director Jeroy Hannah said.
In this camp comedy, Chicklet’s personalities ignite when seeing the color red or hearing someone say it. Of her personalities are Ann Bowman who wants to conquer the world, the radio sex doctor Ruth Mayer, Steve the male model and Tylene Carmichael Caramel who works the check-out at the Safeway.
But beneath all the psychological confusion, Hannah said it’s a love story.
“Girl meets boy. Boy meets multiple personalities. Boy cures multiple personalities. Boy and girl fall in love,” he said.
Hannah has been in the theatre business for 40 years, but this is the first play he’s directed. He first saw the show the year it premiered and was attracted to the “over-the-top commitment to absurd situations, needs and desires.”
But he advised not to bring your mom to the show.
“I think it’s innocent fun, even though it’s a little racy,” Hannah said. Parental discretion is advised.
Even with all the talent in Savannah, Hannah said he had some trouble finding enough actors to fill all the parts.
“I feel I am fortunate that I found everyone perfectly suited to the parts that I have,” he said.
The cast has been rehearsing for a little over a month. They range from a high school student to older citizens in the community.
While the script is set in Malibu beach 1962, Hannah set the play in Malibu “between yesterday and tomorrow.”
“We’re filtering it through several generations. I want to blow it up a little bit,” he said.
While the 2003 film adaptation of the play may have a bit of a cult following, Hannah said, “I don’t think it’s on everybody lips, so to speak. “
Still, Hannah said the show is “fast-paced and fun.”
“I am toying with the idea of a little bit of limbo dancing at the end of the play, but that shouldn’t frighten anybody off,” he added.
The show opens at the Seaboard Freight Station Theatre May 14 and runs May 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 24, 28, 29 and 30 at 8 p.m., and on May 17 and 31 at 3 p.m. For more information visit the Little Theatre of Savannah Web site.
Photo by Jessi Gilbert