Under direction of the North Georgia Acting Company, The Smoke on the Mountain cast is back together for three shows at the Old Tate Gym beginning October 13.
Smoke on the Mountain’s rabid fan base should be pleased. The production that grew wings is circling in for another Pickens landing.
“This started out as a smoky dream of what if we did this,” said Thelma “Bay” Cagle, who plays mamma Vera Sanders in the musical ensemble comedy that whisks you back to 1938 and a day in the lives of the Sanders Family Singers.
“It began as a little two-week community show that was really well received,” Cagle said. “That, of course, had a lot to do with the fact that it’s part a cult show. You’ve got people who will go see Smoke no matter who the cast is or where it’s at, but part of that is also the incredible chemistry and talent of the actors in this production.”
Smoke began as a Tater Patch Players production, which traveled to McCaysville and Gilmer for additional shows following the in-town performances. The production was then picked up by the North Georgia Acting Company out of Jasper, which took it to Cumming for four weeks of borderline sell-out crowds.
Now the North Georgia Acting Company is bringing the show back to Jasper at the Old Tate Gym October 13, 14 and 15 at 7 p.m., followed by shows at the Gilmer Arts and Heritage Association in Ellijay the first weekend in November.
“This production has taken on a life of it’s own,” Cagle said, who has worked in numerous other stage productions and currently teaches piano and voice through the Creative and Performing Arts Academy in Jasper. “I have performed in different capacities but never have I been able to connect with the community in the way this play has allowed.”
Cagle said beyond good acting, good music and good chemistry, the play’s setting and themes are as relevant now as they were during the 30s, which fosters a powerful connection with the audience.
“I am so thankful to have the opportunity to do a show and do it in the era it’s in,” she said. “It’s set in the Great Depression and it really addresses the emotions that people are going through now. Uncle Stanley’s monologue is about having no job and no roof over his head, and that really hits home with people.
“It speaks to the pain of the audience and offers some relief through laughter,” she said. “It’s comedic relief from reality, and if you come I guarantee you’ll feel better.”
Cagle said since the play began nearly two years ago, the actors have developed a respect for one another, and that their guidance from North Georgia Acting Company Director Ross Galbreath has freed them up to develop their characters individually.
“It’s been so rewarding to get to know the actors as friends and see them be creative and expressive,” she said. “We all love it and truly love being together. We also appreciate Ross, because his direction allows us to be creative and develop the characters on our own. Sometimes a director is so rigid that it’s difficult for an actor to fill that character out. With all of us from the actor to actor and actor to director, there is a real sense of trust between all of us.”
Tickets for the Old Tate Gym production are $15. They are on sale now at Renasant Bank in Jasper, Hollywood FX Hair Studio and Jasper Drugs. Tickets are general admission by date.
For more information about the North Georgia Acting Company visit www.ngactingcompany.com.