Theatre ventures forward with moralistic comedy

Fullerton College Hornet  - Mike Lyster - Friday, October 28th, 1988

After the mixed success of the Comedy Of Errors production, the Fullerton College Theatre Department is preparing for its next major presentation, Smokin' Women, a comedy written by former FC student Kimber Jerrils, which will also function as the school's regional entry in, the American College Theatre Festival.

Smokin' Women, directed by Tom Blank, a veteran of theatre production on campus as well as at the Muckenthaler Cultural Arts Center in Fullerton, focuses on six Texan women, and would-be feminists, who launch a personal crusade against patrons of a local pornography cinema, Goodtime Badman's, set against the symbolic backdrop of the 1976 bicentennial celebrations.

"It is exciting to see something brand new-a world premiere-and written by one of (PC's) own people. What first attracted me was the title. Smokin' Women is the hottest title I've heard in a long time," said Blank.

"The premise of the play is that a woman comes back to her small town in Texas and rallies together a group of the local yokelettes to picket a porno house. What it reflects, however, is not feminism of today, but it's a nostalgic and funny look back at the feminism of 1976, and takes place on the same night as the Bicentennial parade," described Blank.

"I think every play should say something, and what this play does that I have not seen prior is to gently tip the hat to the women who 15 years ago fought very hard and risked ridicule and rejection and paved the way for women in society now-not that the fight is over. It dosen't say anything women don't already know, but it shows women who would go completely overboard, and fight long, hard and dirty in order for the middle ground to shift to where it is now," said Blank.

Smokin' Women features a motley cast of characters which includes: Pearl, a 55-year-old Bible belching postal clerk; Margaret, a fourth-grade spinster teacher; Anacyn, a rebel youth armed with a gun in her gym bag; Frankie, a journalist who learns lessons of courage; and Eve, the aggressive leader who bands this eclectic bunch together, touting social reform in the name of research to fulfill her dissertation requirements at New York University.

"It's a heck of: a history lesson," said Blank. "At first, cast members thought 'oh well it's the '70s' but when. they saw the clothes they were' completly grossed out, with the long collars, the hotpants, the halter dresses and the hairstyles, but we're talking history here."

About the play's entry into the American College Theatre Festival, Blank said, "It's on a par with the best that I've seen around, and it's a chance for other people to respond to Kimber's work."

If Smokin' Women wins in the festival at a regional level, it will be entered in the national finals, to be held in Las Vegas.

"It would be real nice to go to Las Vegas and represent the region, but as important, it will be good for Kimber and the cast to hear the responsives of professional people to a brand new work," said Blank.

Smokin' Women will be performed Nov. 13 through 20, at 8 p.m. in the Studio Theatre, with matinees Nov. 13 and 20 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 for students and $6 general admission.

"I found this play really funny and moving. It touches me in some way, and I hope audiences will feel the same way," said Blank.