Four southern belles share the importance of why life shouldn't be spent cocooned in the comfort of complacency in an upcoming play at Willow Leaves of Hope.
The "Savannah Sipping Society," directed by Pete Law and Naomi Fleetwood-Pyle and written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten, is the story of a group of women brought together by Fate to realize enthusiasm for life is something that is best kept precious and not lost - at any age.
"It is about four mature women and three have had something happen in their lives," says Naomi Pyle, producer and co-director. "One is widowed, one has lost her job and the other is getting divorced."
The three ladies cross paths with Jinx, a life coach, whose job it is to push them out of their comfort zone so they rediscover that it is never too late to have fun, adventures and laughs along the way.
Columbus resident Cori Brod plays the role of Marlafaye, a 50-something who moves to Savannah from Texas after her husband of 30 years leaves her for a younger woman.
It is a chance meeting that sets Marlafaye on the path of self-discovery with her three new friends, Dot, a widow left to start her life from scratch when her husband's untimely demise derails an anticipated idyllic retirement, and Randa, a career woman who no longer has a career due to a meltdown that got her fired from an architectural firm.
Brod admits she sees a bit of herself in her character's outspoken nature and appreciates the dynamic between the ladies.
"It is a nice mix of women and they are finding all these new things out about themselves," Brod says. "They are trying to reenergize themselves."
The ladies meet in a yoga class and are united in their decision that yoga isn't for them, Pyle says. And it is when they meet Jinx that things get turned on end.
Jinx uses a variety of situations to really push the ladies beyond their comfort zone so they're left with no choice but to discover that the edge is an exciting place to explore.
"Everyone is out of their comfort zone and as a result they all bond," Pyle says.
Like Brod, Pyle sees many similarities between herself and her character, Dot. The lesson Dot has taught Pyle is quite simple, she says.
"My take home message is don't stop and don't give up," she says. "Live life every day on this earth as full as you can for every day you have."
Kristy Kelley says this play marks her second performance with the Actors' Studio of Hope and she absolutely loves each of the ladies with whom she is sharing the stage.
"We all get along really well and I hope that comes through to the audience," Kelley says. "I hope the audience has some good laughs and recognizes themselves in one or more of the characters."
Kelley, who portrays straight-laced, career-oriented Randa, says her character has taught her the importance of allowing yourself to be open to new experiences.
"As you get older in life it becomes harder to step out of your comfort zone," Kelley says. "From the beginning of the show to the end she grows a lot and I think that is a good lesson for anyone."
Although it is an all-female cast, Pyle says the "laugh out loud funny" show drives home the fact that regardless of your age or gender, you don't have to sit in a recliner with a remote control in your hand. Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed.
Kelley agrees, but takes it one step further.
Not only will the guys in the audience get a good laugh, but Kelley says they may take away some insight.
"Hopefully they get a little inside look into the madness of a middle-aged woman."