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Theatre Guild casts new play

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By April Wright, Reporter

In the Galax Theatre Guild and New River Players' production of the romantic, light-hearted comedy, “I Take This Man,” a woman tricks an amnesiac into thinking he's her loving husband, leading to a hilarious series of events.

The guild will present the play on Nov. 15 and 22 at 7 p.m., and Nov. 23 at 2 p.m. at the Rex Theater in downtown Galax.

In the play, written by Jack Sharkey, complications arise when a woman named Giddy sees an unconscious man lying in Copley Square after Boston Marathon racers have crossed the finish line, she reasons that since nice guys finish last, he must be Mr. Right.

A policeman helps Giddy carry the man to her apartment, shocking her roommate who has a dinner date.

When the unconscious man finally wakes up, he can't remember who he is. So, Giddy tells him they are married — and then regrets being deceitful when he tries to be a loving husband.

“I Take This Man” will be produced by Carol Waddell — with assistance from Pat Moxley, John Nunn, Maryanne Dodson and Linda Shepanski — and directed by Stephanie Dees.

“In a time like this, this play is great to help ease the tensions everybody is feeling,” said Waddell.

Meet the cast, director and producer:

Randy Carico (Dexter)

Carico (portraying the fiance of Giddy's roommate, Charlene) has been in several productions with the Galax Theatre Guild, including “Dracula,” “Barefoot in the Park,” “The Crucible” and “Jewel of the Blue Ridge.”

He was born and raised in Fries and his family has been in the region for generations.

Being a fan of horror movies, Carico's passion for theatre began with “Dracula” in 2002.

“On stage, you can amplify and broadcast dramatic situations,” said Carico. “And I really like being on stage and the reaction I get from the audience.”

Carico remembers watching movies at the Rex Theater, where he saw “Star Wars” numerous times. “It's an honor to perform on this stage and be a part of such a talented group of actors,” he said.

He now lives in Pinnacle, N.C., and works as a computer systems administrator for Baptist Hospital.

Becky Helton (Giddy)

Helton is no stranger to the Galax Theatre Guild, although it has been 25 years since her last Galax appearance.

She has appeared on stage in “South Pacific,” “Hello Dolly,” “Bye Bye Birdie” and “Plaza Suite” and was music director of “Godspell.”

Before moving back to Galax, Helton lived in Northern Virginia, where she worked with Burke Center Players, Prince William Little Theatre and Manassas Choral Society. Working with those theatre organizations, Helton had roles in “Oklahoma,” “Cinderella,” “My Name is Alice” and “The Apple Tree,” which she also directed.

The Washington Post called her performance in “The Apple Tree” outstanding.

Helton is now the director of music for First United Methodist Church of Galax and works as a teller at First Citizens Bank.

She is proud mother of Jake — her favorite role of all.

Harriet Meinecke (The Cop)

Involved in community theatre in the Galax and Grayson areas since the 1980s, Meinecke, 59, has participated in stage favorites such as “Daddy's Dying, Who's Got the Will?” “Twelve Angry Women,” “Last of the Red Hot Lovers,” "Barefoot in the Park” and “Foxfire.”

Meinecke's love for theatre is so deep that she has been an usher every week at Barter Theatre in Abingdon for the past 13 years.

“I love to read and read aloud,” said Meinecke. “Theatre is one of the neatest art forms in literature because of character development. Being 3D allows the audience to participate, and in a way, it provides a visceral reaction to it.”

While living in Massachusetts, Meinecke recalls she and her husband pulling around a truck to different communities, using the trailer as a stage for small plays.

Meinecke had an interest in bring “I Take This Man” to the area for several years and has had fun with her role.

“This is just a fun romantic comedy that develops quickly,” she said. “I'm excited that I get to play a cop in this play.”

Meinecke is studying early childhood education and sociology at Wytheville Community College and taking art classes at Chestnut Creek School of the Arts. She teaches preschool at Ennice, N.C., and works with Mount Rogers Mental Health District.

She lives in Grayson County with her husband Rob.

Phillip Parlock (Unconscious Man)

A music major, music writer and now choral director at Galax High and Middle schools, Parlock, 25, never even thought of being a part of theatre until recently, when he was invited to take a significant role in “Cats.”

Just a few short months later, Parlock now takes on a main role in the guild's “I Take This Man.”

“This fits me because I'm pretty good at acting clueless, so this part fits me just right,” Parlock laughed. “And I love humor.”

Even though theatre may be new to Parlock, having only performed small roles in “Little Abner” and “Bye Bye Birdie” in high school, he's no stranger to stage. Parlock has been in at least 17 choral groups and even a barbershop quartet.

“I love performing, and I love being on stage,” he said.

Parlock, who relocated to the area a year ago, grew up in West Virginia and graduated from Marshall University with a bachelor's in music education.

He has served in Iraq with the Army National Guard.

Wendi Pemberton (Charlene)

Pemberton is excited to be returning to the Galax Theatre Guild after being out the area for several years.

Her past performances include “The Sound of Music,” “Velveteen Rabbit,” “Oklahoma,” “Godspell,” “The Pirates of Penzance,” “Annie,” “Li'l Abner,” “Our Town” and “Oliver.” While in college, Pemberton performed in “Camelot,” “Carousel,” “Guys and Dolls” and “The Sound of Music.”

She and her husband, Arthur, have one daughter, Mimi.

Stephannie Dees (Director)

Dees has been acting and directing for the Galax Theatre Guild since 1978, with her most recent performances being in “Guilty Conscience” and “Foxfire.”

She is returning to the Galax Theatre Guild to direct “I Take This Man.”

Dees loves all aspects of theatre, but directing has become her favorite.

Carol Waddell (Producer)

Waddell is one of the founders of the Galax Theatre Guild, which was born in 1974 and is the only continuously running theatre company in the Twin County area.

To name a few, she has produced “The Music Man,” “Annie,” “Hello Dolly,” “South Pacific” and “The Sound of Music.”

Waddell, who serves as president of the Galax Theatre Guild, grew up in Chicago, gleaming in the spotlight in stage performances, television commercials and films.