It’s that time of year again… the mainstage shows have started! Kicking off our ’19-’20 season is none other than Beth Henley’s Crimes of the Heart. The show opened last Thursday and will play through October 1st. Crimes follows the story of three sisters from Hazlehurst, Mississippi in the midst of a family crisis. Lenny, Meg, and Babe have to navigate through both the literal and metaphorical crimes they commit to find peace in the middle of chaos. Ourthree sisters, Lenny played by Sierra Wilson, Meg played by Cary Wahlborg, and Babe played by Sidney Baker gave us some insights into the show and their characters.
Sierra Wilson plays Lenny Magrath, the eldest Magrath sister. She is a caring sister that has been left behind by her two younger sisters to keep the family together. Sierra describes her as “painfully shy and isn’t very good at sticking up for herself, although, she would do anything for her sisters.” The Magrath sisters face some major internal conflicts throughout the course of Crimes of the Heart, forcing the actors to really dig deep into their characters. Sierra loves playing Lenny and explains just what she loves about her: “I love Lenny because she’s a mother to anything and everyone, but as soon as someone tries to come between her and her sisters, she will put up a fight.” Knowing your character can be immensely important to such a complex story and especially with a small cast of six. This impacted Sierra’s portrayal of Lenny as she reveals, “It was wonderful to really try to explore the depths of Lenny’s personality. I love being able to be on stage and have one of my cast mates present me with a different choice, and I can automatically respond how Lenny would, just because I feel like I know her so well at this point.” Sierra has dove head-first into her characterization and leads the family as they head into their conflicts.
Cary Wahlborg plays Meg Magrath, the middle Magrath sister. She has just come back home to Hazlehurst from California where she was pursuing a singing career. The show revolves around Lenny’s 30th birthday and is bursting with emotion. It has so many great moments, however, Cary says her favorite moment is in the final minutes of the show: “…I think the one that always makes me the happiest is when we surprise Lenny with the (birthday) cake. It’s such a sweet moment.” Cary also enjoys the intimacy of being in a small ensemble. She explains, “It’s been so fun being in a show with only six characters. You really get to know each character and each person playing that character… It was a really fun process. It made the environment feel really safe and inviting.” That environment of trust in your cast can be so important in a show as intense as Crimes of the Heart, and it seems that this ensemble has created a positive space that’s welcoming to every actor and character.
Sidney Baker plays Babe Magrath (formerly known as Botrelle), the youngest Magrath sister. Babe is an eccentric, playful, hopeless romantic that has seen a few hard days. The sisters’ bonds go deep, and that’s what Sidney loves most about being in Crimes of the Heart. She loves “getting to create a sisterhood bond and work with such a talented director and actors.” Crimes is also a show that touches on many social issues that existed not just in the 70’s but in our modern everyday lives. Sidney explains what she hopes the audience can see the parallels of these issues and what they can take away from the show after the curtain falls: “I hope people can realize that even the worst situations sometimes require perspective, and the ultimate importance of where mental poor mental health.” Babe’s story is one that you don’t want to miss as Sidney takes the audience through an emotional journey as Babe’s conflicts come to a head.
Crimes of the Heart is an emotional piece of theatre that will surely touch your heart. The story of these sisters and the relationships that are intertwined are as relevant now as they were in the 1970’s when the show premiered. For those who haven’t seen it yet, there’s still FOUR shows left: September 27th, 30th, and October 1st at 7:30PM and September 29th at 2:30PM in Balcony Theater. Get your tickets and share in the laughter of the Magrath sisters.
“It was something about the three of us smiling and laughing together… It wasn’t forever; it wasn’t for every minute. Just this one moment and we were all laughing.” – Lenny Magrath