Based on the short story “The Ransom of Red Chief” by O. Henry, the play tells the story of two down-on-their-luck crooks looking for some easy cash.
Performances continue Saturday night at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2:30 p.m., Nov. 9 and 10 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 11 at 2:30 p.m.
In the play, Sam and Bill wander into a small town, circa 1900, and think they’ve found just the ticket. All they need to do is kidnap rich Ebenezer Dorset’s only niece for ransom. However, it doesn’t take long before they discover they have much more than they bargained for with wild Josephine Dorset.
It’s “Home Alone” meets “The Problem Child” in the fast-paced show where Josephine, a rambunctious tom-boy, just wants to play and have fun, said Cherokee Theatre Company president Ed Palombo.
Unlike most productions, the cast was not able to start memorizing lines immediately for this show.
Instead, the 11 actors sat down with director Becca Bowden and Palombo to create an original adaptation of “The Ransom of Red Chief.”
“Ed came to me with a great idea in the early stage of planning this production,” Bowden said. “He said, ‘Why don’t we workshop this with a cast and make it our own?”
Bowden said they held auditions and instead of just having the actors read from a script, called “cold readings”, they were also asked to do a bit of improvisation.
“Once the actors were chosen they were brought together to read the original short story and collaborate to create a new play,” Palombo said.
They spent weeks discussing characters, setting, and doing improvisational exercises. With much input from the cast, Bowden and Palombo sat down to re-work the story and present the cast with a script.
The local cast includes: Cody Vaughn and Morgan Vaughn of Canton, Kendall Ward and Andy Ward of Marietta, Denise Alguire of Cartersville, and Rachel Hogue, Marc Nellums, Sarah Nation, Mary Lynn LeCraw, Daniel Scott and Lisa Hogue — all of Woodstock.
General Admission tickets are $10. All performances are at the historic Canton Theatre in downtown Canton. Tickets can be purchased online at www.cherokeetheatre.org or by calling (770) 591-0282.