There are considerable tears shed throughout Beth Henley’s 1981 Pulitzer-winner, Crimes of the Heart
. This is, after all, the grandmammy of dysfunctional-southern-sisters stories, which ushered in an era of Dixieland feminine breakdowns in the 1980s. There are perfectly good reasons for Crimes
’ Magrath sisters to be upset: Babe (Arianne Jacques) has shot her hubby; middle sister Meg (Cassie Greer) can get her bones jumpstarted more readily than she can her singin’ career; and elder sister Lenny (Maggie Chapin) is frazzled to the point of incapacitation by the hospitalization of their grandfather. It’s heavy stuff, but Hillsboro’s Bag&Baggage Productions’ take on Crimes
manages to effectively stir the pot with tears of laughter. As Chick, Gunn is a tornado of innocence and instability, while the stunning Greer brings Meg’s insecurities and addictions to startling light. But it’s Chapin—in her final B&B production—who carries the emotional heft, like Atlas shouldering the weight of a million hyper-hormonal sisters. Bag&Baggage knows Crimes
is melodrama at its purest. Where the group succeeds is in its ability to wring fresh tears from the well-worn story.
253 E Main St., HillsboroWebsite: www.bagnbaggage.org