Families can be messy, crazy and loving all at the same time and guests can see that up close and personal at Alexander City Theatre II (ACT II) this weekend. “Daddy’s Dyin’: Who’s Got the Will?” will be performed at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at Benjamin Russell’s auditorium.
“It’s about the relationships in the family, their memories growing up, who they’ve become partly because they’re in relationships with these people in their family,” ACT II board president Betsy Iler said. “So it’s a play that’s real at the same time it’s very funny.”
Iler said the show is different from the group’s previous shows because it is unique and not a classic play such as “A Christmas Carol” or “Arsenic and Old Lace.”
“It’s the kind of play that will spark some conversation after the play is over,” Iler said. “It’s something people will talk about not just the actors but the themes.”
The play is about four adult siblings getting back together after their father suffered a stroke and is dying in the fictional town of Lowake, Texas in 1986. All of the siblings have taken different paths as adults.
“One daughter has married a preacher,” Iler said. “Another daughter has been married six times. One daughter has stayed home and taken care of her grandmother and her father and then there’s one son who’s (tough).”
Iler and her husband Rob Iler watched the movie version of “Daddy’s Dyin’: Who’s Got the Will?” in the 1990s and wanted to bring it to the stage ever since. They finally put it on this year because ACT II has been established for five years and is ready to perform more variety.
“This was a great time to do it and we’re excited about it,” Betsy Iler said. “It’s a real treat for audiences. Because we got (ACT II) solid, it’s a good time to stretch a little bit — stretch ourselves and what we are able to bring to the stage and help our audiences stretch a little bit in what theatre is and can be for this community.”
The show is the most complicated play ACT II has performed because the play has eight characters who are involved in two or three simultaneous conversations, Iler said.
“It’s a real challenge but there is a lot of side humor and a lot of jokes that are one liners,” Iler said.
Iler said the cast has worked together for so long they are more like a family.
“That’s always fun to see people who come from all different walks of life, most of whom don’t know each other, forming friendships and personal relationships that they’ll have from here on out,” Iler said.
Iler said the show is not appropriate for children because it includes swearing and adult themes such as death.
Central Alabama Community College’s cosmetology department is helping bring back 1980s hairstyles. Iler said the stage and costume crews have put in overtime work in order to put on a fun show for the audience.
“I think it’s working together with a team of people who have a common goal toward putting on a quality production and seeing that happen,” Iler said.
Iler said the show will be entertaining, inspiring and intellectually stimulating.
Tickets are $15 per person and can be purchased at the door or online at www.brownpapertickets.com.