published Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Gem Theater's 'Tokens of Affection' a romantic comedy for all generations — Aug. 23-24

The cast of “Tokens of Affection” includes, back row from left, Susan Powell, Zip Rampy, Mandy Maloney and James Swendsen. In front are Ted King and Sherry Childs.
The cast of “Tokens of Affection” includes, back row from left, Susan Powell, Zip Rampy, Mandy Maloney and James Swendsen. In front are Ted King and Sherry Childs.
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.


• What: "Tokens of Affection"

• When: 7:30 p.m. Aug. 23-24

• What: Gem Theater, 114 N. Wall St., Calhoun, Ga.

• Admission: $12

• Phone: 706-625-3132

• Website:

With relationships -- new or old -- come complications.

That is borne out in the new comedy "Tokens of Affection," which will be performed by members of Acts of Random Theater at the Gem Theater in Calhoun, Ga., on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 23-24.

"It's a witty comedy with a lovely story to tell," says Sherry Childs, one of the founding members of the acting troupe. "[The story] absolutely could be any family. I think the unique part of this play is [that it could] appeal not only to someone married 37 years but also to a newlywed or someone at the dating stage -- a broad range of generations."

The play was written by Topher Payne, a Mississippi native who now lives and produces plays in Atlanta.

The story revolves around a 60-ish couple, the Garretts, who decide to go their separate ways after 37 years of marriage. Ultimately, Mr. Garrett moves in with his son in Manhattan, and Mrs. Garrett moves in with her daughter in Connecticut. Their children, meanwhile, try to get them back together.

Childs says the play is the first by Payne the troupe has staged. The playwright himself will attend the final night's performance and be honored at a reception following the show.

"That in itself is a pretty rare opportunity," she says. "It's exciting for us because we don't know Topher and wonder what his reaction to how we have interpreted his work will be."

"Tokens of Affection," according to Childs, premiered in 2011 at the Georgia Ensemble Theater.

"A friend of mine that knows I do a lot of theater said you need to take a look at this," she says. "We ended up communicating directly with Topher to get permission to do this."

The play is the second for the Acts of Random Theater troupe, the core group of which has more than 200 years of stage experience, at the Gem, Childs says.

"The 'random,' " she says, "is that we perform where we have an opportunity, a dinner theater, a stage play, whenever the opportunity presents itself."

"Tokens of Affection," she says, "is truly quality theater. This is one of those stories that when you leave the theater, you're going to feel good. And you'll realize it's the little things that make the difference."

Contact staff writer Clint Cooper at or 423-757-6497. Subscribe to his posts at

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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