published Friday, May 4th, 2012

'Dixie Swim Club' dives into Playhouse


What: "The Dixie Swim Club."

When: 7:30 p.m. today, Saturday, Thursday, May 11-12; 2:30 p.m. Sunday and May 13.

Where: Oak Street Playhouse, corner of Oak and Lindsay streets at First-Centenary United Methodist Church.

Admission: $10 adults, $8 seniors, groups, $5 students.

Phone: 756-2428.


A friendship forged on a Southern college swim team may have roots deeper than a giant sequoia.

Oak Street Playhouse will explore those roots tonight when it opens "The Dixie Swim Club" at the theater inside First-Centenary United Methodist Church.

The poignant comedy, written by the playwright team of Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, revolves around five former teammates who renew their friendship annually at the same beach cottage on North Carolina's Outer Banks.

Director Brenda Schwab describes the play as sweet and funny with "a very common appeal. The characters are people we are or have known."

The characters age from their mid-40s through their mid-70s in the play, which is viewed through several summer meetings over those 30 years.

The five include Vernadette, a schoolteacher who's had a somewhat difficult life; Lexie, who wants to stay perpetually young; Sheree, the former cheerleader captain who remains the quintet's organizer; Dinah, the somewhat cynical high-powered Atlanta attorney; and Jeri Neal, a nun whose life takes a turn.

"I love directing shows that are female-driven," said Schwab. "The female characters are all strong, [people] we can relate to."

In addition to the comedy that deals with the byplay among the five, "The Dixie Swim Club" also deals with the issue of aging.

While one character (Lexie) fights the aging process with a nip here and tuck there, the others realize while their brain tells them they're the same woman they were in college, a different person stares back at them from the mirror.

Schwab said her featured actresses -- Jenny Bacon, Coylee Bryan, Cristy Clark, Denise Frye and Patti Gross -- are "a great group of women to work with. They're all going to be wonderful."

about Clint Cooper...

Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...

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