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'Crabs in a Barrel' debuts this weekend
New Lovette comedy has serious message
Lovette play - Starla
Hillary Scales plays scheming vixen Starla in the Love-it-Productions summer play, Crabs in a Barrel. Scales pretends to change a computer password during rehearsal. - photo by Photo by Denise Etheridge

Love-it-Productions’ new, original play, “Crabs in a Barrel,” is a comedy filled with twists and turns that delivers a serious message about how easily greed corrupts. The local theater company’s summer production will be presented at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Liberty County Schools Performing Arts Center in Flemington.
Playwright and director Donald Lovette said his latest script centers on the relationships among a group of young professionals attempting to climb the ladder of success, but while doing so, they manage to climb over one another, like crabs in a barrel.
“I’m happy that every play we’ve done has a lesson,” Lovette said. His latest script “is designed for the younger thespian,” he said.
Lovette founded Love-it-Productions in his “spare time.” During working hours, Lovette is a Liberty County commissioner and director of laboratory services at Liberty Regional Medical Center.
The local playwright said his youthful cast began rehearsals in late June.
“We’re fast-tracking this,” he said. “But when you have this type of talent pool, you can do this.”
Lovette’s actors range in age from middle school to college level. He said the more seasoned performers mentor less-experienced actors.
Veteran Love-it-Productions actress Hillary Scales, who plays scheming vixen Starla, is studying for her master’s of fine arts in theater performance at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. She graduated from Albany State this year. Scales said her character has no scruples and will stab others in the back to get what she wants. Still, Starla is not the only character making bad decisions, Scales said.
Love-it alumnus and Clayton State University senior Darius Booker, who landed the role of Macbeth at college last year, plays a hypocritical investment banker open to bribery in “Crabs.” Booker said his character is “a stickler for the rules,” but ends up throwing the rule book away because he envies his clients’ wealth and decides he, too, wants to get rich quick.
Sideeq Heard, another actor, was unable to attend rehearsal Monday. He has appeared in many Love-it productions and will be a sophomore this fall at Howard University, Lovette said.
Scales, Booker and Heard, along with Paulette Simmons-Robertson and Randy Knox, share the stage with emerging talent.
Tyrique Holmes, a Liberty County High School sophomore, plays “funny man” LeRon, who worries about his money. Bradwell Institute sophomore Bobby Reynolds Jr. plays an ambitious investor. Leah Hayes, another fledgling actor, plays Jolesa, who has come into an inheritance.
Lovette also welcomes students as behind-the-scenes crew members. Midway Middle School student Helen Chapman and Albany State senior Delvon Lewis have devoted a portion of their summer break to the production.
Doors open at 5 p.m. Saturday for the 6 p.m. showing of “Crabs in a Barrel,” and tickets cost $10. A portion of the proceeds go toward the Liberty County Homeless Coalition. Tickets are available at the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce, WGML and Victory Assembly of God and Baconton Baptist churches.
In addition to Love-it-Productions’ play, the company will offer a dramatic arts workshop Friday at the Performing Arts Center. Students will learn movement, diction and characterization. Early registration begins at 4 p.m., and open registration begins at 5 p.m. The workshop is limited to a total of 50 middle- and high-school students. Applications are available at the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce. Call the chamber at 368-4445 or call 977-3239.

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