"When I picked up the script (for a read-through), I laughed multiple times," Promise Players community Christian theater group director Doreen Creighton said of choosing this spring's play, "Mobile Home Sweet Home" by Pat Cook. "There's a lot of sarcasm, and Tim (Strawser) pulls it off very well."
At the center of it all is Strawser's character, Loff DuVall, who has run the Hampton Court trailer park with his wife, May June (Linda Ross), for more years than he can count. Loff is hoping to take May June on a vacation to escape the zaniness of the residents. Vonell Rafferty (Laura Scott-Wise) tries multiple income schemes, the latest of which is searching for treasure with a metal detector. Lydia Spagway (Melody Risser) needs help removing her grandchild's hand from where it is stuck in a toilet. Rhonda DeFalco (Wanda Jenkins) just wants to gossip, and Goose Halford (Ken Hess) tells long stories, such as how his grandpa has a metal plate in his head. "The kids used to catch him asleep and put 'frigerator magnets on his forehead," Goose relates to Loff.
Compounding the stress is a request from Loff's future daughter-in-law, Anne (Christine Tedesco), who wants to film a reality television show in Hampton Court. And, to add insult to injury, Etta Frobisher (Creighton) has it in for Hampton Court. "She's being nitpicky and trying to find anything to get this shut down," Creighton said of her character. "She's bossy and hungry for power. She's just a bully."
Frobisher is not any kinder to her younger sister, Edith Maxwell, who is played by Creighton's real-life older sister, Karen Ungemach. Ungemach is also a volunteer at the organization that will be benefited by the proceeds from the show's performances. Formed in 2016 in response to a need to go beyond offering emergency shelter, Elizabethtown Community Housing & Outreach Services (ECHOS) provides services to end the cycle of poverty while transforming the lives of families and individuals. Using the Housing First model, ECHOS assists individuals and families experiencing homelessness, at-risk of homelessness, or in need of services who are already connected with the Elizabethtown area, including Elizabethtown, Rheems, Bainbridge, Mount Joy, Marietta, and Maytown.
"You have to be sympathetic (to the people we serve)," Ungemach commented. "I'm so fortunate to have a home, but in other circumstances I could be there (where our clients are)."
Compassion is key when interacting with folks in need, as well as with anyone in general, and that is a message that comes through in "Mobile Home Sweet Home."
"It's about relationships and not judging people," said musical director Nancy Snyder, who will also appear in the show as Jennifer Crown.
"Mobile Home Sweet Home" will be presented at Lampeter Church of the Brethren, 1900 Lampeter Road, Lancaster. Performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 28; Fridays, March 22 and 29; Saturdays, March 23 and 30; and Sunday, March 24. Matinees will start at 2:30 p.m. on March 23 and 30 and on Sunday, March 31. The doors will open one hour prior to show time. Child care for preschoolers will be offered during the shows. Ordering tickets in advance is recommended, and readers may do so at http://www.promiseplayers.org. To learn more about ECHOS, folks may visit http://www.echoslancaster.org.