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'Swim Club' follows friends through life after college

| Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
Beth DePetro | Grand Theater
Sharing the spotlight in Mon River Arts' production of 'The Dixie Swim Club' at the Grand Theatre in Elizabeth are Jeanie Cygrymus, Renee Kern, April Ohms, Cindy Swanson and Amy Whiting.

With the hectic pace of life, it can be hard to make time to spend with friends.

When the curtain goes up on Mon River Arts' production at the Grand Theatre in Elizabeth this weekend and Feb. 28-March 2, a group of five women will prove that it is possible to make time to get together.

“The Dixie Swim Club” shares the stories of Southern women who became friends while on the swim team in college. They get together every August for a long weekend at the same beach cottage at the Outer Banks to share what has happened in their lives since their last gathering.

“The story looks at their lives, their friendship, their disagreements and their reconciliations,” director Bob Scott said of the show, which takes place over four decades.

“It's about people and their lives and the things you encounter in life and overcoming those things,” he said. “It's a very funny show, but there are some very poignant moments.”

He had not directed “Swim Club” before and admits he was a little nervous taking on the project.

“It wasn't as bad as I feared,” he said. “I worked with four of the women before. So I knew them and that made it a lot easier. It was really a lot of fun to do this show.”

The friends are played by Jeanie Cygrymus (Jeri Neal), Renee Ruzzi-Kern (Dinah), April May Ohms (Vernadette), Cindy Swanson (Lexie) and Amy Whiting (Sheree).

“I think the audience will enjoy the talent of these wonderful ladies and the production staff,” Scott said.

He worked as a technician for a phone company for many years, he said, then started going to night school in the 1990s. “I was 40 at the time. That's when I got interested in writing, which led to directing and producing.”

The writer/filmmaker has been involved with the Carnegie Screenwriters since 1998 and is the group's president. His resume includes scripts for short- and full-length films, television and stage.

“I've worked in film, TV and theater and love all of them,” Scott said. “I think theater is my first love, though, because I keep going back to that. I just enjoy making enjoyment and entertainment for people.”

The director said he hopes the audience leaves the Grand “with the feeling they have been entertained and moved and enlightened on the human condition.”

“I hope they look at these women and what they go through, how they've stayed together after all these decades,” he said. “It's about the power of friendship and love. They will definitely laugh and I hope they find a little bit of enlightenment, too.”

Carol Waterloo Frazier is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1916, or cfrazier@tribweb.com.

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