(Seguin) -- There's a well known saying that states that "good fences make good neighbors." The Seguin MLK Day Planning Committee is offering a new version of Robert Frost's words. The committee hopes that the play "Fences" will help to bring a community together.
The crowning jewel in this weekend's celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King is a dinner show Saturday night in the Seguin-Guadalupe County Coliseum. The play "Fences" by August Wilson will be presented thanks in part to the show's director Pat Hoppe. Hoppe says this is the same story that many saw at the movie theater, where Denzel Washington and Viola Davis played the title roles. The drama enjoyed wide critical acclaim, and Davis actually won the Oscar for her part in the film.
Hoppe says the incredible storytelling from the movie is one of the reasons why she thought "Fences" would be a perfect addition to Seguin's four-day MLK weekend.
"I absolutely think it's a wonderful play. I had gone to see the movie. It came out last year with Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. They both won Tony Awards and they were up for Academy Awards. The first 20 minutes of that movie, I thought, that is Papa Douglass up there on that stage. So I thought, we've got to do this show. So I asked Papa if he would like to do it and he said 'sure of course', so we're doing it and we're very excited about it," said Hoppe.
Hoppe has worked a number of times with local actors Papa Douglass and Dr. Dolores Major Duffey, and that's why she felt so strongly that they could handle these very meaty roles. She says the rest of the cast is also great, and that's why she expects this to be such a great performance.
"He is absolutely charming in this show, just wait. Of course, he gets mean too because that's part of the show, but he's wonderful. Papa plays Troy, the lead and Dr. Dolores Major Duffey is his wife. They were together in The Mountain Top. (They) did a tremendous job, so they're back together. Also in the show are Phillip Redix, Tally Neal, John Blair, Devin Taylor and a precious little girl Zariah Owens," said Hoppe.
Hoppe, who's worked on a number of plays in Seguin over the years, says they've been working on this show for months now. She says, like all productions, there's been a lot of hard work bringing it together.
"It was a challenge and a huge challenge was that it was over the Christmas break so we were all busy with Christmas and other things, but we're going to get there. We're not quite there yet, but we will be by next Saturday night, I guarantee it," said Hoppe.
Seguin MLK Committee Chairperson Regina Lee says the committee for years presented a dinner theater during the MLK weekend. She says they changed that for a few years, but she says it just made sense to bring it back this year. Lee says things will all get started with a social hour around 4:45 p.m. Saturday, with the actual dinner portion set to begin at 6 p.m. and the show to start at 7 p.m.
"It (includes) a social hour. At 5:45, we will call people in attendance to start maybe going to their places to sit. At 5:55, we will have a prayer and then we will commence with dinner. By seven o'clock, the play will start. We usually end at nine (but) because of the play needing an intermission for the cast, we will be going to 9:30 this year. If you have children 10 and under, you need to kind of re-think this. It might not be the best activity for them, regarding the MLK weekend, but I guarantee you, anyone that comes out will have a great time," said Lee.
Hoppe agrees that the show may not be suitable for younger audiences, so parents should consider that before bringing the entire family. Hoppe says some of the show's language might also be offensive to some ears, but she says it's all important to the integrity of the show.
"There's adult language and there's also a couple of words that we don't normally say in polite society, but my strong feeling is that I should use the words that August Wilson wrote in the play and that's exactly what we're doing," said Hoppe.
Tickets to the dinner show are $30 each. Seguin MLK Committee Vice-Chair Linda Schuler says you're guaranteed a great meal and a great show on Saturday night. She says the $30 admission fee is a bargain when you consider all that's being offered that night.
"You're going to pay about $60 maybe to $100 for going out to eat and then going to see a play or movie, depending on how much popcorn and drinks and all that and how many people are attending -- so yes, $30 is a bargain," said Schuler.
Tickets can be purchased from any member of the Seguin MLK Day Planning Committee, or at radio station KWED.
The dinner theater is the only paid event during the four-day MLK weekend celebration. The committee will host a concert featuring several choirs from local schools on Friday night in the Coliseum. Saturday morning gets started with a soul food tasting event in the Coliseum.
There's a gospel festival set for Sunday night at Texas Lutheran University. Monday's actual MLK Day observance will feature a lunch time program in Central Park, plus the annual Freedom March from the park over to TLU. More info on this year's events honoring the legacy of Dr. King can be found online at www.mlkseguin.com