Summer comedy ‘Faith County’ debuts at L’arc en Ciel Theatre Group

Summer comedy ‘Faith County’ debuts at L’arc en Ciel Theatre Group

With a 19-year tenure directing shows for L’arc en Ciel Theatre Group at Great Oaks dining and performance space in Cedar Lake, Angie Lowe and her husband, Paul W. Lowe, who serves as technical director, have learned their summer audiences prefer stage comedies.

“For our fall offering, we did the musical ‘1776,’ and we were pleased,” Angie said.

“It had some brief humor, but, of course, was more history heavy. For summer, we wanted something extra fun for our audiences.”

“Faith County” is a two-hour comedy playing at 7:30 p.m. June 15 and 21; and 2 p.m. June 19 and 23, with pre-show buffets at 12:30 p.m. at Great Oaks in Cedar Lake.

Set in the small fictitious southern town of Mineola, the rural life stage yarn written by Mark Landon Smith has all of the neighbors preparing their arts and crafts submissions for the annual county fair while also sharing their excitement about the biggest wedding their small town has ever seen.

“This play has never been done before in Northwest Indiana, which is one of the reasons the script was at the top of our programming selections when selecting our season of shows,” Angie said.

“We loved all of the references to tractors, corndogs and down-home traditions.”

This summer marks the 57th year for Paul and Angie Lowe directing community theater, and the duo still shares the same excitement working with new and returning talents.

The cast includes Shannon Pierzchalski, Amy Bannister, Bruce Jung, Maureen Carroll, Linda Slankard, Ava Reese, Peter Brunker, Leon Simon and Lynette Estes.

“There’s plenty of inside jokes and clever humor, such as the town preacher saying he got his license by responding to a published advertisement in Popular Mechanics magazine,” Angie Lowe said.

“We made a few tweaks to the script just to expand some of the funny references. For example, the script calls for the play to be set in the fictitious small town of Pickler, Minnesota, which we changed to a made-up town in the south that I just refer to as Mineola, U.S.A. I like to think of this being the kind of small town that is still trapped in time, where the beehive hairdo is still all the rage at the local beauty shop.”

Unveiled as a 2010 premiere, Landon’s collection of silly characters attracted the attention of television producers for the NBC show “Dateline” for a feature segment during the play’s initial 35-week run.

“I think audiences will come to our show and spot some of these characters onstage and almost feel like they know someone who could be that same silly sort in real life,” Angie said.

“In our play program, I made sure I included a notation that explains ‘any similarity to persons you may know is purely coincidental,’ just in case someone thinks we are focused on their family.”

Philip Potempa is a freelance reporter for The Post-Tribune.

‘Faith County’

When: 7:30 p.m. shows June 15 and 21; 2 p.m. shows June 19 and 23 with buffet at 12:30 p.m.

Where: Great Oaks, 13109 S. Wicker Ave., Cedar Lake

Cost: $40-$45 for buffet and show; $20-$30 for show only

Information: 219-776-0888