Hilarity ensued when six community actors took to the stage in Stoughton to present “Operation Redneck.” A fundraiser for the community swimming pool the play was hosted four nights, Fridays and Saturdays, Nov. 20 and 21, and Nov. 27 and 28.
The event was sold out each night and one of the main organizers, Danielle Hoffman, explained that the event was expected to bring in approximately $20,000, which will be put towards replacing the pool liner.
The idea to host the dinner theatre developed last year with Hoffman and Holly Fraser discussing the possibility of hosting one as a fundraiser. The two became this year's director and stage manager.
“It's quite impressive, none of the cast has any experience doing something like this with the exception of one person,” Hoffman told The Observer.
“A heartfelt thanks goes out to everyone involved and to everyone who made this possible.”
The performance opened on three roommates: Julie (Victoria Fraser), Tina (Dee Lyke), and Beth (Lauren Creighton). Living in a small town, a “redneck” community, Julie receives word that her boyfriend Jacob (Trevor Elliott) wants to visit. With Jacob being a big city, liberal, environmentalist, Julie worries about him meeting her father, Pa (Scott Richardson) and friends – including Tina's boyfriend JJ (Aaron Walbaum) – in the small town.
Jacob is warned not only by Julie, but a second time by Beth, to do his best to blend in; to avoid dressing and acting too liberally.
Upon meeting JJ, Jacob easily insults the local and runs from an angry JJ.
The ladies are later greeted by a drunk Jacob and JJ who have become buddies. As Jacob attempts to be more like JJ, he ends up insulting Julie in front of Pa, and is told to leave. During this time JJ upsets Tina, who would like someone who treats her a little bit better. As the ladies leave a heartbroken JJ and Jacob, the two men decide they must find a way to win back the hearts of their loves.
Deciding to buy airtime on the local television station the two end up inciting the town who were enjoying their regularly scheduled program as the men go up to the water tower to write Julie's and Tina's names as the ultimate declaration of their love.
Tina forgives JJ, while Julie forgives Jacob although she is hesitant to return to their relationship until her father gives her wise words of encouragement.
The performance, although centred around love, was quite comedic. With Walbaum taking on a “Jeff Foxworthy” southern style of speech he encompassed the stereotypical “redneck.” While Lyke took on an Elly May Clampett type of naivité to her character.
With great comedic timing each performer showed that even though they might not be well versed in acting that they were the perfect casting choices.
The group put on a fantastic show, which came together through their hard work, which saw 23 rehearsals since September or 104 hours of practice. The dedication to the performance meant the play went off without a hitch and it was thoroughly enjoyed by all who happily enjoyed their time at the show.