Oct. 12 - Nov. 4, 2001
Producer: Ann marie Houghtailing
Director: Brent A. Stringfield

Sara Lee TurnoverChris Bain
Lurlene Turnover RogersPeggy Nielsen
Mama WheelisAnisa Shamis-Cox
Evalita TurnoverDawn Marie Himlin
Harmony RhodesDavid Blasie Meredith
Orville TurnoverRobert Shadbolt
Buford "daddy" TurnoverJohn Ivey
Marlene TurnoverBeth Mercurio

By Del Shores: When Buford "Daddy" Turnover has a stroke his family gathers to go over his estate. Unfortunately, Burford can't remember where he put the will. The Turnovers are a motley crew; Orville, a redneck trash collector and his wife, who has lost 62 pounds on Herbalean; Sara Lee, the town beautician with a bleached beehive hairdo; Lurlene, a preacher's wife; and Evalita, six times married and still a beauty - - from a distance. Thrown into the mix are Buford's fiesty mother-in-law and Evalita's fiance, a vegetarian musician.

ProducerAnn marie HoughtailingCostume DesignerMolly Eggers
DirectorBrent A. StringfieldProps MistressEnid Munk
Assistant DirectorLaBeth ThompsonHouse ManagerKathy McCafferty
Stage ManagerEvelynHouse DresserAnnette Huffman
Rehearsal AssistantAnnette HuffmanUshers/ConcessionistsPowPAC Wranglers
Musical DirectionTerry EisenhowerPiano AccompanistKathy McCafferty
Set DesignerJohn IveyChildren SingersHimlin Family Singers
Set ConstructionJohn Ivey, Fred Nielsen, Peggy Nielsen, Ann marie Houghtailing, LaBeth Thompson, Bill Cox, Bill FayFlyer & Program Cover DesignerKenn Burnett
Set DressingCamel, Inc.ProgramNan Katona
Sound DesignerLou AllianoPhotographerTony Eisenhower
Lighting DesignerJim MillardPublicitySherrie Colbourn
TechnicianChristine Putnam 

Chris Bain

Peggy Nielsen

Anisa Shamis-Cox

Dawn Marie Himlin

David Blaise Meredith

Robert Shadbolt

John Ivey

Beth Mercurio

Guess Who???
Thanks to Tony Eisenhower for the photos.

Publicity Photos
Thanks to Tony Eisenhower for the photos.

Critic Robert Hitchcox
Date Reviewed October 13, 2001

Review Upon entering Poway Performing Arts Company’s theater, it was apparent that this was going to be a different kind of theater experience. Mounted animal heads, antlers, Texas memorabilia, and much more adorned the walls and lobby. Just exactly what was Del Shores’ “Daddy’s Dyin’ Who’s Got the Will?” all about? All are assembled for the pending demise of Buford “Daddy” Turnover (John Ivy). All are in search of “The Will.”

A second clue of things to come was the pre-show music. It has been a long time since I’ve seen an audience listening and reacting to pre-show and between-scene music. Sound Designer Lou Alliano’s selection of country music enhanced the jocular mood of the evening. The John Ivey set, dressed by Camel, Inc., had the perfect feel of a large country farmhouse. The wall decorations told us much about the residents, their family, their religious attitude, their plainness, their life.

Enter village hairdresser Sara Lee Turnover (Chris Bain) with hair piled a foot high. She immediately introduced us to her two sides – the natural, slightly profane self and the for-relatives’ consumption sweet, almost angelic, self.

Older sister Lurlene Turnover Rogers (Peggy Nielsen), a bible-belting preacher’s wife, quickly established her territory as a moral arbiter of the family, who refused to hear blasphemous language and corrected such immediately. Nielsen’s body language reinforced her character’s uprightedness. However, it was Anisa Shamis Cox, as Mama Wheelis – crusty clan patriarch – who absolutely stole the show. Blessed with some of playwright Del Shores’ best lines, Cox, whose stature is minimal, made those who towered over her cower.

Dawn Marie Himlin, as Evalita Turnover, joins the growing group, in a costume obviously designed to save the Costume Designer, Molly Eggers, her meager fabric budget. Evalita is a woman who goes through husbands faster than I go through cars. Her idea of a good time is a couple of six packs of long-neck Lone Stars and the nearest man.

Evalita brought her current beau, Harmony Rhodes (David Blaise Meredith), a long-haired hippy. He is not exactly well regarded in this mid-80s tiny Texas backwash of a village. Ironically, Harmony may be the only whole person in the household.

Orville and his wife Marlene Turner (Robert Shadbolt and Beth Mercurio) round out the group of visiting misfits. Again, non-relative Marlene exudes a strange degree of sanity that the kinfolk seem to have lost. Shadbolt’s Orville is an overbearing, overweight lout that needs a good whooping and Mama Wheelis is just the right administrator. Marlene gives us a few amusing surprises.

The honoree of this loving family is deathbed-bound Buford “Daddy” Turnover, played by John Ivey. Ivey has some absolutely brilliant moments as a stroke victim. He vacillates from delirium to moments of lucidity. He was totally convincing.

Director Stringfield assembled an excellent cast to play these misfits, giving them both direction and a loose rein, allowing each to grow and develop their roles. As each character allowed us to see their other side, the change was logical and predictable.

It was obvious that the cast had fun, which gave the audience a delightful experience with many gut-wrenching laughs. I missed, dearly, that special Texas twang. The mix of Southern accents, while giving the play a southern feel, did not bespeak of rural west Texas.

Jim Millard, as usual, gave the set nice clean light. Molly Eggerssplurged on the basic flowery shirtwaist dresses of the ladies. Cox was attired, for the most part, in plain house dresses. Shadbolt was in basic slob while Ivey was in traditional farmwear. Thus, Eggers’ choices were fitting. Where, alas, was the wig constructor/designers’ credit? Bain’s pile, Nielsen’s huge mop, Cox’s grey monster – all delightfully rural Texas. Meredith’s sideward flowing tresses should also be recognized for their authenticity.

“Daddy’s Dyin’ Who’s Got the Will?” is an amusement as well as a look at the true meaning of relationships, love, and kinship. There’s also a right bit o’ singin’ including Meredith on guitar and solo, as well as a trio, an ensemble number which includes the pre-recorded voices of The Himlin Family Singers. It is a time in our history for the relief of humor. PowPAC has just the right relief.