“Dixie Swim Club” to open Ice House Theater on September 21

Do you have friends from high school or college whom you see infrequently, but when you do, you can still complete each others’ sentences? Then, you will identify with the characters in “Dixie Swim Club”, which opens at the Ice House Theatre in Visalia on September 21.

Enjoy a rollicking comedy as the college swim team continues annual reunions. The play opens 23 years after the graduation of five very different women, whose college friendships have evolved and deepened. Their commitment to each other over the years is evident in their easy bantering.

The personality of Shree, the swim team captain, portrayed by Robin Wessell-Hammond, remains unchanged. Wessell-Hammond notes, “She wants to be in charge and her good friends go along. They think she is Miss Perfect until they find out she’s not.”

The “ageless” Southern Belle, Lexi, is determined to remain young and beautiful regardless of the years. In describing her role, Samantha Muse comments, “She is very materialistic. She is like a sexy worldly friend. If you had questions about a guy, you would call Lexi.”

A ray of sunshine in the group is Jeri Neal. After college she became a nun, but by the time we meet the “club”, she has decided she would rather be a mom. New to the stage, Mao Lee is excited to be involved in the show. “I decided it was time for me to expand my experiences. I am having a fantastic time.”

Jennifer Toledo is fulfilling a dream with the role of Dinah, a lawyer making the big bucks. “There are parts of her character that are like mine – strong on the surface for helping others, but still searching for where life is taking her.”

“I have a special connection to Vernadette,” explains. Nicole Devol. “She reminds me of my mother. When I perform the role, I feel I am representing her.” Vernadette loves all of the women, but her favorite is Dinah, her drinking buddy.

Director Sergio Garza’s original introduction to “Dixie Swim Club” was through the Kings Players’ production in Hanford. “I thought it would be perfect for our theatre. It is purely entertaining–sometimes it’s good not to have to think, to see it all right there.”

The cast and the director emphasize the show’s focus on the importance of lasting friendships. Toledo identifies the importance of “humor and friendship even though a minute ago, they may have been really angry. It’s story of true friendship—how anger doesn’t last.” In another view, Devol points out, “Vernadette finds support from her friends that she doesn’t get from her family.”

“Dixie Swim Club” runs for three weekends at the Ice House Theatre at Race and Santa Fe in Visalia. Evening performances are at 7:30pm on 9/21, 9/22, 9/28, 9/29, 10/5, and 10/6, and matinees are at 2pm on 9/23. 9/30, and 10/7. To purchase tickets go to the Visalia Players’ website at www.visaliaplayers.org, their Facebook page “Visalia Community Players”, or call 734-3900.

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