‘Come Back, Little Sheba’ brings message of hope to Acrosstown
Published: Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 11:52 a.m.
‘Come Back, Little Sheba’ may be filled with the somber realities of alcoholism, troubled marriage and mistakes from the past, but it is also an inspiring reminder about the importance of living in the present, says director Jerry Rose.
‘Come Back, Little Sheba’
What: William Inge’s drama about a Midwestern couple dealing with loss and redemption
When: Previews at 8 tonight, opens Friday and runs 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 16
Where: Acrosstown Repertory Theater, 619 S. Main St.
Tickets: $12, $10 for students, educators, veterans and seniors, available at the door or at Coffee Culture; proceeds from tonight’s preview benefits Bread of the Mighty Food Bank
Info: 505-0868, Acrosstown.org
The play opens Friday and runs through Dec. 16 at Gainesville’s Acrosstown Repertory Theatre. A special preview performance at 8 tonight benefits the Bread of the Mighty Food Bank, an organization that fights hunger and food insecurity in Gainesville.
Written by William Inge in 1950, “Come Back, Little Sheba” is a domestic drama that centers around a frustrated middle-aged couple, Doc and Lola Delaney, whose life is disturbed by the arrival of a young, attractive boarder at their home.
Lola, played by Paula Patterson, is a flirtatious housewife who mourns her lost youth and encourages the love affairs of young boarder Marie, a lustful college art student.
Mark Kirby plays Lola’s husband, Doc, a recovering alcoholic who gave up medical school to marry Lola when she got pregnant. The two remained in a forced marriage despite the fact that she lost the baby.
For both Lola and Doc, Marie is a reminder of their lost youth and lost opportunities.
However, Kirby says the play brings the message that “there’s always hope, and your past mistakes don’t have to drag you down forever.”
Director Rose, who taught sociology at The State University of New York for 28 years, says his interest in human relationships and behavior led him to choose the play. The story has a universal appeal, he says.
“There’s a very relevant lesson for us all that as we go through life, we need to enjoy what we have and not yearn a great deal for what we have lost,” Rose says.
“Come Back, Little Sheba” is named for the refrain of the female lead, who calls for her lost dog, “Little Sheba,” periodically throughout the play. Her calls for the dog are a symbol of dwelling on the past, Rose says.
Rose, who calls himself somewhat of a “purist” when it comes to directing, says his vision for “Come Back, Little Sheba” was to keep the story true to the original script.
“I think a story loses its impact when you place it outside of its time or place or the mind of the playwright,” Rose says.
Performances for “Come Back,Little Sheba” begin at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. on Sundays through Dec. 16.
General admission tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for students, seniors age 55 and older, educators and veterans. They can be purchased at Coffee Culture in Gainesville or at the door 30 minutes before each performance.