Titled “Christmas at Sweet Apple,” the play is directed by Pete Borden, a brick mason and playwright living in east Cobb.
“Celestine Sibley and Ollie Reeves were very good friends, and Celestine had a habit of picking up strays —people, not animals — and befriending them, and she always called on Reeves to help her, so part of the story is her trying to help a young girl whose husband left her,” Borden said.
Twelve actors portray 17 characters in the two-and-a-half hour play to the accompaniment of traditional and original holiday music.
Palmer Wells’ Theatre in the Square commissioned Phillip DePoy of Decatur to write the life story of Sibley, titled “Turned Funny” in 2005. DePoy said it turned out to be the biggest money-maker in that theater’s history. Wells then commissioned DePoy to write “Sweet Apple” based on several of Sibley’s books. Theatre in the Square performed the piece for several years until its financial difficulties prompted its closure.
“Other theaters have produced the play, but to my mind there’s a special significance in performing
it in the northern part of Georgia,” DePoy said. “The actual home, Sweet Apple, is there, and very lovely, and the stories are based in that ethos.”
Borden came across the play from being on the steering committee for CenterStage North, which he says is the oldest community theater group in Cobb County going on 36 or 37 years.
“We were brainstorming about plays to do this season,” Borden said. “I read it, and I fell in love with it and said, ‘let’s do it for Christmas.’”
The play runs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday this week, and then next week from Dec. 19 through Dec. 21. There will be two performances on Dec. 21, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets are $15.
Borden, 77, a great grandfather of three, said he’s been directing plays for 42 years.
“You’d be surprised at the number of community theaters there are in Cobb County,” Borden said. “I would say that Cobb County probably has more theater talent per capita than any place I’ve ever been.”