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Monday, Dec. 22, 2014

Actors put aside fears for Halloween play

Monday, October 22, 2001

NEW MADRID - "Trick or Treat" describes Sherry

Burton's life recently.

The trick is balancing her work, her home life and her

roles as director and actor in the upcoming production

by the Dixie Drama Players. The treat will be when the

curtain rises Saturday and Sunday on the first adult

theater production in several years by the Dixie Arts

Council.

And "Trick or Treat" is the name of the Halloween

comedy set for 1 p.m. Saturday and again at 2 p.m.

Sunday.

The production, while featuring adults, is designed

for the entire family. In fact, Burton said she hopes

the cast won't be the only ones in costumes, but that

the audience, especially children, will come attired

for Halloween.

"We thought it would be interesting to do something

for the holiday and we thought the kids would enjoy

dressing up for the performances too," she explained.

Youngsters who wear costumes will be eligible for

prizes at the end of the performances.

But the real prize will be the play.

Describing it as a spooky comedy, Burton said the plot

revolves around two sisters (one of which she plays)

and their move into an abandoned home they intend to

turn into a bed and breakfast. The cast of characters

includes a local historian who believes she is a

witch, a scarecrow, an escaped prisoner and a rich

aunt.

The action is just a little scary with lots of laughs

interspersed, advised Burton. She said youngsters will

pick up on the comedy as well as adults and promised a

happy ending.

Tackling her first production as a director/actor is

difficult said Burton but it is a role she relishes. "There are a lot more nervous nights," she said with a

laugh. "But I'm a take-charge kind of person. I'm more

confident things are going to be done in the right

way."

She credits her sister, Lori, who is serving as

co-director as well as a cast member, with helping her

get things done. Also she praised the work of the

other cast and crew members.

Burton said she hopes the production will inspire

others to become involved as the Dixie Arts Council

works to revive the Dixie Drama Players. She would

like to see the drama troupe perform plays, featuring

casts of youngsters as well as adults and already is

planning to direct a play next year featuring

children.

"If everyone sees how well this goes maybe they will

want to do it too," said Burton. "The main reason I

became involved is because it gives my children

something to do. This is family entertainment. It is

something parents and children can enjoy together on

the stage or in the audience."

The director emphasized involvement in the Dixie Drama

Players is much easier than most people realize. For

"Trick or Treat" rehearsals were limited to two hours

a week until the week of the play, when the pace

accelerated.

"You can dedicate as much or as little time as you

want," she said. "And if they aren't the actor or

actress type that doesn't mean there isn't anything

they can do to help. It takes a lot of people to put a

play on."

The community theater group also needs people to serve

behind the scenes running the lights and sound board,

assisting with props or building sets, Burton said.

Tina Williams was one of those who thought about being

in a play but explained she always was too scared to

try out. When Burton discovered she needed someone for

the role of Aunt Wilma she persuaded Williams to go on

stage.

"I really didn't volunteer," said Williams. "I was

nervous at first, but I'm getting better. It's not

scary any more but that might be a different story the

night we have to do it."

Most of all, Williams said, it is fun.

Burton points out the Dixie Drama Players isn't just

for New Madrid residents. The current production

includes people from Sikeston and Lilbourn as well as

the local community and she would like even more area

residents to become involved.

Those who would like to join the Dixie Drama Players

can call Burton at 748-5855.