"Dividing the Estate," playwright Horton Foote's poignant comedy about a Texas family that must prepare for an uncertain financial future, opens the Redlands Theatre Festival's summer season at 8:30 p.m. July 12 in the outdoor Avice Meeker Sewall Theater in Redlands' Prospect Park at Cajon Street and Highland Avenue.
The show, which runs for seven performances through Aug. 22, is directed by Ron Adams of Highland, who also takes on a role in the show.
Meet the Gordons, a Texas family of malcontents ruled by octogenarian matriarch Stella. The family fortune, due to plunging real estate values and unexpected taxes, has been in much better shape. Now Stella's grown children debate whether they should divide the estate while their mother is still alive.
What ensues are squabbles, arguments, jealousies and hurts, with huge helpings of greed, gossip and pettiness, as this dysfunctional family takes on much more than just the topic of their inheritances.
"The problem is with the matriarch of the family, Stella, who is determined not to break up the estate," Adams said. "Of course, feuding, bickering and sibling rivalries ensue as only a loud Texas family can deliver."
In addition to directing the show, Adams plays the character of Bob, who has married into the family and is also down on his luck as a real estate agent. He hasn't been able to care for his family. He's hoping his wife, Mary Jo, will get her share of the estate to bail them out.
"It's always a challenge to direct the same play you're acting in, but I welcome it," Adams said. "It's a great cast, which makes it easy to do both. I'm also designing the set and helping with props and furniture pieces, so I guess you could say I'm 'all in.'"
Adams also is the theater festival's artistic director and has been involved with many productions over the years. Last season he appeared in "God of Carnage" and also designed the set.
A scenic and graphic artist and prop and set designer, Adams also is a playwright. His play "Charmed Lives" was produced by Redlands Theatre Festival in 2009. He is the recipient of acting and set design awards from the Inland Theatre League.
"Dividing the Estate" premiered in 1989 at the McCarter Theatre New Jersey, but in 2007 went to Off-Broadway and a year later to Broadway. Playwright Foote won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play and the Obie Award for Playwriting.
The cast also includes Cathy DeBrule, Running Springs; Susan Adams, Highland; Carol Damgen and Heather Stephens, Redlands; and Tom Provenzano, San Bernardino.
Others in the cast are Julia Bray, Caitlin Casin-Dover, Redlands; Jessica Beron, Fontana; Inez Viera, Highland; Marvin Carter, Hesperia; and Connor Benson and Suzi Green, Redlands.
Performances of "Dividing the Estate" continue at 8:30 p.m. July 21 and 30 and Aug. 8, 11, 17 and 22.
The play is one of five shows in repertory at Prospect Park in Redlands through Aug. 25. Other shows are "The Importance of Being Earnest," "The Andrews Brothers," "Love, Loss, and What I Wore" and "Hairspray."
Single tickets are available in advance or at the door for $20. Student tickets may be purchased 15 minutes before curtain with a valid I.D. for $16. Season tickets are available for $80 for all five shows. Group tickets also are available at a discounted rate.
Tickets are available at the Redlands Theatre Festival box office in Prospect Park or by calling 909-792-0562. Ticket information is also available at rftseason.com. Theatergoers may park on Cajon Street and take the free tram ride to and from the theater. Picnicking is allowed on the festival grounds before each show.
SOURCE: Owen Sheeran, publicity coordinator for Redlands Theatre Festival
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