Trip to Bountiful Brings Emotional Depth to PCA

10 November 2018  
Carrie Watts wants to return to her hometown. But can she finally get there?

Playing now on the Main Stage at the Prescott Center for the Arts is The Trip to Bountiful, a play By Horton Foote. Set in the early 1950s in and around Houston Texas, it tells the story of an old woman, Carrie Watts, whose dream is to return to her hometown. 

The play actually premiered on T.V. in 1953, followed by a brief run on Broadway. It was translated to the big screen  in 1985, starring Geraldine Page and featuring a screenplay by the author.

The play revolves around the character of Carrie Watts, who is ably played in this production by Trudy Forbes in her first appearance on the Main Stage. Carrie is is stuck in a cramped  city apartment with her son Ludie and his self involved wife Jessie Mae. What Carrie wants most of all is to return to her former home in the tiny town of Bountiful. She has been trying to get there for several years, with no success, but this time she is determined. 

The story follows her journey, bringing in a number of characters who help he on her way, especially Thelma, a young woman with her own journey. Natalie Geraghty, last seen in Comedy of Errors, brings a wistful but kindly character to vivid life.

Another good nuanced performance is by Dave Alberts as Ludie Watts, a man who can’t understand how his life has reached this place, who loves his mother but seems powerless to change anything. In the role of his wife Jessie Mae, Debra Duncan brings to life a selfish, brittle housewife, with nothing to do all day but read movie magazines and drink Coke. 

The actual trip takes on such momentum that the audience was surprised when the play ended by how much time had passed.

There are only eight characters in all, and every actor brings just the right feeling to the part. Randy Lee Halgunseth, playing the Sheriff, Ron Bowen, as Roy the station agent, and Cathleen Cunningham and Tyler Greenleaf as the Houston Ticket Agents are spot on.

Director Melanie Snyder has assembled a good cast and crew and set them loose. Good Job.

The set, designed and partly built by Stan Reed, is a wonder of spare suggestion. The depiction of the cramped Houston apartment is especially good, just seeing it brings on a claustrophobic feeling. And as the play goes on, the physical set diminishes as the suggestion of space expands.

The costumes and music are very much early 50’s Houston. And the crew performs efficiently and unobtrusively.

The Trip to Bountiful Performances:

November 8-18

November 8, 9,10, 15,16,   at 7:30 PM, Tickets $17 & $22
November 11, 17, 18 at 2:00 PM, Tickets $17, $20 & $22

Visit the PCA website to purchase tickets.

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Cindy LaMaster