If know any of the women who are appearing in The Dames You Thought You Knew at the Cape Fear Regional Theatre, then you probably consider yourself lucky. These women — Suzanne Pennick, Terri Union, Rollin Shaw, Patricia Timmons-Goodson and Margaret Dickson — all successful in their own right as professionals, are more than their bank balances. They are known for their community involvement, for their caring and we would be remiss if we didn’t say for their style.
Being in a room with one of them is a delight, sitting down with all of them is a treat not to be missed. And you are invited to do just that as The Dames You Thought You Knew hits the stage Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 31 - Sept. 1 and again on Saturday, Sept. 7 and Sunday, Sept. 8.
The show, conceived by Bo Thorp, is a journey through the lives of five successful Fayetteville women told in their own words, by them. It is held together with music performed by The Singing Dames under the direction of Brian Whitted and Sharon McNair. The music, which spans the pivotal decades in the lives of these women, ties the show together, but it is the wit, wisdom and kindness of the women that tells the story.
Thorp has been toying with the idea of doing a project like this for some time, she says it has been on her bucket list for quite a while.
“I’ve been thinking about this for a long, long time, but it wasn’t something I was ready to pursue. But now it’s at the top of my list,” said Thorp. “I think it became more important to me at this point in my life as I have begun to think ‘How did I get here?’ This isn’t where I started, but as I look back, I can see it has been a crooked road, and I was interested to see how the road looked for these women.”
Thorp looked around the community and came up with 10 women whom she thought were leaders; women who made the community better. She then approached the top five women on her list, and to her amazement, they all agreed.
“The amazing thing to me is that they said yes, before they even knew what the project was,” she said. “That overwhelmed me that they trusted that I know what I am doing, and I do know what I am doing, to see this project through. I am stunned by that.”
The ladies, though, had no hesitation in joining Thorp in the project.
“If Bo said do it, we had to do it — and have fun,” said Shaw.
With a full endorsement from her cast, Thorp brought the ladies together and what a wild ride it has been. The cast started meeting in January and began telling their stories.
For Timmons-Goodson, Thorp’s outline of periods of their lives they should concentrate on was key.
“If you were asked to tell your life story, what experiences would you pick? Bo organized it in such a way that was very helpful. She gave us an outline, so to speak. She said we must select one aspect and one incident. This was fascinating to me, looking at what it is I selected to discuss.”
The stories the women share are funny and they are sad. They are the fabric of the lives of the women who are telling them. They bring with them humor and kindness, romance and heartbreak, but the common thread of love and a sisterhood runs between the women. It is tangible. As they sit going through the process, some sipping iced tea or diet coke, you can see the ease with which they share their heart.
As Dickson noted, the ladies were friends before, having been neighbors with children the same ages, but the process has brought them closer, it has made them sisters.
If you would like to share their incredible journey, visit the CFRT Box Office or call 323-4233. Tickets range from $15 to $30. For more information, visit www.cfrt.org.
Photo: The show, conceived by Bo Thorp, is a journey through the lives of five successful Fayetteville women told in their own words, by them.