A new play by a local playwright is featured at Players by the Sea. There are only four performances remaining to see A Seat at the Table by James F. Webb III, in production through June 10
A Seat at the Table is a captivating story about the Churchill family and highlights the themes of hard work and deep love. Roderick Churchill married the love of his life and served as the sole provider of his family while building a respected business, Hillside Construction. Roderick wants to retire and turn the business over to his sons. He puts his eldest son, Rodney, in charge, much to the dismay of his younger son, Erick. The sibling rivalry is fierce between the two. While Rodney is a dedicated worker, running the business isn’t his strength. Before long, Roderick makes a change and puts Erick in charge. The business thrives until Erick makes some poor choices.
The one-act play runs about an hour and will keep you on the edge of your seat as it builds in intensity. Webb did a great job of making the characters very real and balancing some sweet moments with poignant ones. This production includes violence and adult language, and is recommended for ages 16+.
Webb, who also directed the play, assembled a talented cast. The Churchill family — Kemust Sims Sr. as Roderick, Regina Torres as his wife, Ella, and sons, Marcus Smothers as Rodney and Rashaud Sessoms as Erick, are wonderful in their portrayals, demonstrating love, frustration, resentment and grief. Michael G. Robinson Jr. as Marcus Strong and Ron Veasey as Frank deliver memorable performances and the ensemble, Arden Trusty, Zachary Stone, Francis Scoblick and Ashley Harris, provides excellent support. Joycelyn Petty is the stage manager.
The intimate studio stage is transformed into a beautiful family dining room on one side and the construction company office on the other. The set features the work of scenic designer Aisha McBurnie. Her artwork is also featured in the gallery with works by Tiffany Rodriguez and Tamia Brinkley. The creative team includes production manager Jereme Raickett, lighting designer Samantha Catone, costume designer Lee Ann Thomas, sound designer/technical director Nate Cimmino, and properties by Claire Cimino.
A Seat at the Table was developed and staged as part of Players’ New Voices play development program. Local playwrights have an opportunity to develop their original scripts, culminating in a fully mounted production of their play. After Webb submitted a script and was selected for the program, he worked with mentors Eugene Lindsey, Shauntel Bennet-Robison and Maya Dartiguenave for several months developing the piece and preparing it for Players’ stage. Kudos to Bradley Akers, who brought the idea to the Jacksonville Beach community theater in 2016, and to Players by the Sea for offering the program to the community. The director of the New Voices program is Kris Jackson.
Performances of A Seat at the Table are offered June 7, 8, 9, and 10. Tickets are $23, $20 seniors, students and military. Thursday is student night with half price tickets for students.