COLQUITT, GA - Since 1994, thousands of people have been flocking to historic Cotton Hall Theater in March and October for Georgia's official folk-life play, "Swamp Gravy". Their latest production, "Order in the Court", opens Friday (October 2).
"We have had our courthouse burn three times; I think we're on the fourth one."
"He's a really sinister, mean guy. He's an older guy that is stalking a younger woman."
"Remember, innocent until proven guilty.
He's as guilty as sin! Shot a man point-blank and killed him dead."
And even a little sibling rivalry …
"You do know there were 2 other courthouses in Colquitt, don't you?
No, I do not but I am sure I'm about to be enlightened."
Mix 'em all together and you get "Swamp Gravy's" latest production - "Order in the Court."
Written by Colquitt native, Deborah Jones, the play centers around the Miller County Courthouse.
"It's all true stories even though we sort of stretch the truth a little bit to make it entertaining," said Richard Ward.
"It's kinda fun trying to figure out who are the real-life characters sometimes,” said Janna Cobb. “Many of them have passed away, but some of them are still with us. I've had a lot of families that have had stories that I never knew about that have ended up in Swamp Gravy."
Although there will be new stories, songs and faces, artistic director Kate Willis says they've worked hard to keep that familiar "Swamp Gravy" flavor.
"There's still favorite songs like the storytelling song that starts every production we do. So it still has that Swamp Gravy flavor, the heart and soul that people have come to expect."
All of the performers are volunteers. They range in age from toddlers to senior citizens and hail from Baker, Miller, Early, Seminole and even Decatur counties. But no matter where they call home, all agree the stage has brought them together.
"It's brought my family closer together,” said Cobb. “Being a mother of 2 boys, you don't have a lot in common with boys when they get to a certain age but this bonded us."
"We've got so much talent,” said Ward. “The kids just blow me away with the amount of talent they have. I'm just amazed."
You can catch "Order in the Court" in October on Fridays at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2:00 and 5:30 p.m. EST. Tickets are $22 each. Proceeds go toward projects like the New Life Learning Center and millennial mural project.