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An invitation to Dinner
Holiday comedy opens at Averitt Center Dec. 11
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Three cast members from “The Man Who Came to Dinner” are shown rehearsing a scene from the comedy that opens Dec. 11 at the Averitt Center. - photo by Special
The Man Who Came to Dinner


When: Dec. 11, 12 at 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 13 at 2 p.m.
Where: Averitt Center for the Arts, Emma Kelly Theater
Tickets: $13 adult/$10 youth
Contact: (912) 212-ARTS

    “My great aunt Jennifer ate a whole box of candy every day of her life. She lived to be 102 and when she had been dead three days, she looked better than you do now.”
-Sheridan Whiteside, The Man Who Came to Dinner

      With witty dialogue and eccentric characters, “The Man Who Came to Dinner” is a classic holiday play that’s humor still holds up today.
      Set in 1930s Ohio in the weeks before Christmas, the three-act comedy centers on Sheridan Whiteside, an outlandish and often obnoxious radio wit, who has begrudgingly agreed to dine with businessman Ernest Stanley and his family.
Upon his arrival, he slips and injures his hip. Threatened with a lawsuit the Stanleys allow Whiteside to recuperate in their home where he proceeds to take over with his entourage as well as meddle in the family’s affairs.
      Under the direction of John Groover, Statesboro’s local theater group, the Averitt STARS, will perform three productions of The Man Who Came to Dinner, Dec. 11, 12 and 13.
      “It is one of the great holiday plays,” said Groover, who co-founded the Averitt STARS five years ago.
      One of the most produced plays among community theater groups and high schools, Groover said he was drawn to the script because of its large cast which allowed him to select a wide variety of actors, from middle school students to veterans of the local theater scene.
      “What I enjoy the most is to see people who spend eight hours at work or school and then are willing to spend four to five hours at rehearsal … to see their passion and desire to bring a quality production to the local community,” he said.
      Groover said the group will be performing the original 1939 script, although they will employ modern staging techniques such as a projection screen background and minimal set pieces which will allow the audience to focus on the script.
      In addition to the acerbic Whiteside, the cast includes his love-struck secretary, a forgetful physician and his nurse, who after being subjected to Whiteside, says she plans to leave the nursing profession and work for a munitions factory so as to exterminate the human race. “If Florence Nightingale had ever nursed YOU, Mr. Whiteside, she would have married Jack the Ripper instead of founding the Red Cross!”
      Since its inception, the Averitt STARS has produced four to five local productions a year. The next performance will be “The Funeral Club” in February under the direction of Mical Whitaker.
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