Review: The Last Meeting of the Knights of the White MagnoliaBy Laura & Mike Clark • Feb 1st, 2006 • Category: Reviews
Listen to our review of Port City Playhouse’s production of The Last Meeting of the Knights of the White Magnolia [MP3 4:45 4.4MB].
Laura: We’re talking about Port City Playhouse‘s production of The Last Meeting of the Knights of the White Magnolia that we saw tonight.
Mike: The Last Meeting of the Knights of the White Magnolia is a play written by Preston Jones. It’s a play that takes place in 1962 in a small town in Texas. It’s a group of men who get together as the Knights of the White Magnolia. It’s an off shoot of the KKK. It’s the KKK without the sheets as they put it. They’re meeting in this run down hotel trying to increase their membership. They have a new recruit and he comes in and things happen. Some funny stuff, Some serious stuff.
Laura: Overall, I thought it was a good show. There was a lot of bantering back and forth. Not a lot of slapstick comedy, but a lot of bantering back and forth.
Mike: The Knights of the White Magnolia, there were seven of them on the stage and then they had a new recruit coming in. Basically the seven got along really well together in that they knew each other, they were comfortable with each other, they made fun of each other, they teased each other. They played a practical joke on one of the guys. So that was nice. The recruit came in. He was a young kid and just wanted to be a part. He was a llittle nervous about it. He did pretty well with that. The other character was the janitor for the hotel where they were meeting and he came in and out a few times. He never had a really big scene, but he did pretty good, too.
Laura: He did well. The character I liked was Red Grover played by George W. Campbell. He was probably the most annoyed with the other characters. He seemed to get frustrated quite easily when they were trying to initiate the new recruit into their group and going on and on about trivial stuff that had nothing to do with inducting someone into being a Knight of the White Magnolia. I thought he showed a lot of emotion. You could see it in his eyes and his expression and his voice.
Mike: He did pretty good with getting really frustrated when they would go off on tangents and not getting done what they had to get done. So that was good to watch. Overall the show was pretty short. It was only about an hour and a half with the intermission. So it was a quick show which we weren’t really expecting. It did well.
Laura: Yes, it was one of the shortest shows that we’ve seen.
Mike: At the closing of the initiation for the new recruit, there was a cross on the back wall that was supposed to light up. They flipped the switch and it came on really dimly. It was a cross about five feet high. It had lightbulbs down the center and then across the cross piece. The only ones that lit up were down the center. I think that was a mistake. I think they were all supposed to light up a little bit.
Laura: I think it was planned because it showed partly the end of an era of the Knights of the White Magnolia. This is the first recruit they’ve had in five some odd years and it’s down to the seven of them. So I think I was there to show the end of an era.
Mike: Whereas I think they dealt with that in the script itself. They talked about, “There’s dust on these lightbulbs.” They cleaned them all up and unscrewed them and tightened them up. The other two not lighting up I think was a problem with the cross itself. The closing scene when Ramsey-Eyes comes in and reads the little not he found and sits in front of the cross. It would have been effective if it had been a full cross behind him. You’ll have to see the show again, I guess to figure it out.
Laura: That’s true, because you know electricity lingers.
Mike: Electricity lingers. That was a funny line. There were some funny lines in this.
Laura: There was a bit of language so I don’t recommend it for young children. I think part of it was a small Texas town in 1962.
Mike: A rurall town that’s how they talked I guesss. We’re going to have to find somebody from the early 60’s and grew up in a small town and a male even, a guy and see if that’s how they talked back then. This is a good show. It will give you a lot to talk about. How people have changed. How race in this country has changed since 1962. 44 years ago, this was written in the 70’s. Back then it was a big deal, too. Set in the 60’s right before the start of the civil rights movement.
Laura: It is very thought provoking. I would recommend seeing it. It’s playing through this weekend in Alexandria, Virginia.
Mike: And now, on with the show.
- Rufe: John T. Adams III
- Red Grover: William W. Campbell
- L. D. Alexander: Bernard Engel
- Milo Crawford: Michael J. Fisher
- Skip Hampton: Richard N. Isaacs
- Ramsey-Eyes: Paul Morton
- Col. Kinkaid: Joe Schubert
- Lonnie Roy: David Seemiller
- Olin: Cal Whitehurst
- Producer: Robert S. Kraus
- Director: Neal Donald
- Assistant to the Director: Robert S. Kraus
- Assistant Producer: Douglas Olmsted
- Stage Manager: Carlyn Lightfoot
- Co-Set Design: Don Neal, Richard Schwab
- Co-Set Construction: Douglas Olmsted, Joe Schubert
- Set Dressing/Properties: Judy Kee
- Lighting Design: Jeffrey Scott Auerbach
- Lighting Design Assistants: Lesley Buckles, Jennifer Lyman, Donna Reynolds, Sheri Singer
- Sound Design: Pierce Bates
- Costume Design/Wardrobe: Beverly Nicholson Benda
- Graphic Design: Eleni Aldridge
- Playbill: Jennifer Lyman
- Photographer: Douglas Olmsted
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/792.
Laura & Mike Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.