‘Too Heavy For Your Pocket’ makes Michigan debut at Open Book
TRENTON, Mich.–In Too Heavy for Your Pocket, opening May 13 at Open Book Theatre in Trenton, audiences are introduced to two black couples outside of Nashville in 1961. Sally Mae has just finished beauty school, and she and her husband Tony are expecting their first child. Their neighbors and best friends, Evelyn and Bowzie, are preparing to send Bowzie off on a full scholarship to Fisk University. While life still has its hardships, we see their joy in the possibilities before them as they laugh and play and head off to the local revival.
At Fisk, Bowzie is introduced to the Freedom Riders, and makes the decision to join them. “I’m proud as all get-out of the life we’ve made where we can feel safe. And happy. And fall in love. And get a little piece of this American Experiment for ourselves,” he tells Sally. “But that ain’t justice.”
“This show really sheds light on a part of history that isn’t explored very much,” Maegan Murphy, who plays Evelyn, explains. “And it sheds that light in a beautiful way as we see the impact that the Freedom Rides have on all four characters.”
Director Lynch Travis says that the play is “important now because we, this culture, have an opportunity to delve into social issues, learn about our subcultures, how they intersect and diverge.” While taking place during an important historical moment, the play focuses in on the lives of four ordinary people. “There is love between couples and friends that abound in this play against the backdrop of a Big Thing, the civil rights movement.”
Ashley Kay, who plays Sally Mae, agrees. “This story reinforces the freedom of choices we have as humans and how those choices bring about the cause and effect of our everyday lives. That’s the beauty of it all.”
The play is grounded in the home of Sally and Tony, but we see how the outside world effects everything they do. The theme is even present in the scene design, as the walls melt away and there’s no clear distinction between the indoors and out.
“I think that the overarching theme is one of love and forgiveness,” says Murphy. “There are different points throughout the play where each character forgives another and it’s the love they have for each other that enables them to do so.”
We are not unaffected by the world outside our doors, and the choices we make and the stands we take reverberate through the lives of all those around us. Too Heavy For Your Pocket is a beautiful story that sheds light not only on our past, but on our present and our future.
Individual tickets are only $25 for general admission, $20 for seniors, and $15 for students, with tickets for the opening night gala $30 each. Tickets can be purchased online at openbooktc.com or through the box office. More information can be found online or by calling 734 288-7753. Too Heavy for Your Pocket contains adult language.
The play is written by Jiréh Breon Holder and directed by Lynch Travis. It features Craig Ester as Tony, Ashley Kay as Sally Mae, Justin Montgomery as Bowzie, and Maegan Murphy as Evelyn. Stage Managed by Sarah Drum. Lighting Design by Harley Miah. Set by Krista Schafer Ewbank, Gordon Mosley and Bradly Byrne. Costumes by Mary Copenhagen. Props by Amanda Bates. Sound by Frannie Shepherd-Bates. Production Managed by Maria Tejada.