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March 28, 2013

‘In the Room Upstairs’

World Premiere at HCPAC of playwright Haynie’s play

Athens — The Henderson County Performing Arts Center, in conjunction with First State Bank, announces the World Premiere of “In the Room Upstairs.” 

The show is the newest work of local playwright, Robin Haynie.  The theatre has produced Haynie’s shows for the last six years.

Charlie Brenham, played by veteran-actor George Guillot, Sr., is an octogenarian who lives alone in the home he shared with his wife, who recently died from cancer.  In addition to his loneliness and grief, Charlie deals with arthritic knees and a loss of hearing.  Charlie has always been a bit difficult, but he is now depressed. 

His only son, Chuck, played by newcomer Gene Banks, lives in Chicago, and keeps tabs on his dad through communication with the family’s outspoken housekeeper, Gigi, played by Anita Joblin.  Charlie indulges in too much late-night whiskey, and long conversations with his deceased wife. When he is not verbally-sparring with Gigi, he is turning off his hearing aids, in order to avoid listening to her input.  Once a happy family home, the big house now feels like a waste.   

Opportunistic small-time criminal Denny Lucas, played by Ash Gimler, and his girlfriend Kacie, played by Savannah Joblin, climb through an upstairs window, and become squatters in an upper storage room. 

Denny convinces Kacie that this is a reciprocal relationship where, unbeknownst to Charlie, they live in his unused space, while they look out for the old man’s safety. 

In her naivete, Kacie accepts this, and thinks of it as an adventure.  Denny does not count on Kacie’s growing affinity for Charlie.  Kacie spends her lonely hours sitting on the dark stairs, listening to Charlie’s lonely rants, growing in concern and tenderness for the troubled Charlie. 

The night comes when Charlie and Kacie meet face-to-face, and suddenly Gigi disappears.  Kacie realizes that all are in grave danger. 

When threats are made, will Kacie choose to protect the man that she has grown to care for?  Or will she even get the chance?  

The show is directed by Judy Rhinehart.    

This mystery runs April 4, 5, 6, 11 and 13 at 7:30 p.m. with two matinees at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 7, and Sunday, April 14.  There is no show on Friday, April 12, so that patrons may attend the theatre’s Spring Fund Raiser at the Athens Country Club. 

Reservations may be made by calling 903-675-3908, or online at  Tickets are $17 for adults, and $12 for students and children.  The show is rated Theatre PG-13.

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