Southern Fried Funeral Synopsis
Bless their hearts; J. Dietz Osborne and Nate Eppler have scored a bona fide hit with their latest collaboration “Southern Fried Funeral.” The play is genuinely funny while being affectionate toward the cast of characters created by the playwrights. The comedy offers a view into Southern manners and traditions.
Clearly, Osborne and Eppler are writing about people, places and things they have known from birth. They display an impressive knowledge of what constitutes proper funeral etiquette and the peculiarly Southern way of life and death in all its “Jesus Called…And Dewey Answered” glory!
Throughout the plays you’ll see flashes of Robert Harling’s Steel Magnolias and Fannie Flagg’s Fried Green Tomatoes. The playwrights succeed in adding their own unique voices to that softly lilting cacophony of regional drawls. The characters have clearly defined personalities, all of whom speak in their own individual voices. The dialogue created by Osborne and Eppler is wonderfully genuine.
Set in the small Mississippi town of New Edinburgh, the play’s action takes place over several days in August during the funeral of Dewey Frye, who dropped dead in the middle of a joke to the Rotarians during their dinner meeting. His wife, Dorothy, is faced with dealing with funeral arrangements, the realities of widowhood and a crazy assemblage of family.
The characters are as colorfully wacky as you’d find in any Southern neighborhood and the relationships are as richly diverse as you would expect to find. There are Dorothy and Dewey’s three children: Harlene, the black sheep daughter who made off for Dallas at the first opportunity; Sammy Jo, the younger daughter who personifies contemporary Southern belle perfection and Dewey Jr., aka “Dew Drop” who’s kinda daft in a sweetly weird way.
Adding to the equation is Dub Frye, the late Dewey’s dastardly brother, with just the right blend of condescension and smarmy Southern charm.
The cast also includes Atticus Van Leer, the Frye family’s consigliere (that’s “lawyer” for all you hicks out there) Sammy Jo’s adoring husband (who obviously loves her despite the fact that she’s overbearing and bossy). The cast is completed by five friends (of a sort) of the Frye family.
The play’s action is propelled along at a strong pace and creates tableaux that makes for pleasing visual effects onstage. The actors will have a grand time with “Southern Fried Funeral” which will translate wonderfully onstage, making it a surefire hit with audiences. The play will run August 3, 4, 5 and August 10, 11, 12.