Brigham Young University's production of "Foxfire" is like a homemade rhubarb pie: The bitter and the sweet are both there and you are never really sure which one is dominant.
But they are both necessary to make a good pie."Foxfire" is the story of Annie Nations (Jean R. Jenkins) and her husband Hector (Ivan Crosland) and how they come to grips with a world that is changing around their 100 acres of land in the Georgia backwoods.
Both Jenkins and Crosland are BYU theater faculty members, and it was easy to see why they teach.
Their relationship on stage indicates that they are seasoned veterans of the theater, especially during the memory sequences, even though they don't change clothing or makeup.
The play tells of the struggle the Nations' have trying to hold onto their property and their ideals in a world where developers like Prince Carpenter (Shane Roberts) want the land for houses and seem to respect the ideals but don't mind burying them either.
Their son Dillard (Dave Heslington) isn't helping much either. He has established himself on the professional singing circuit and is trying to find a way to help his city wife understand his backwoods upbringing.
As he jumps back and forth between the singer and the son, Heslington, despite some juxtaposed words, seems comfortable with both roles. And he has singing talent.
Heslington is backed up by the "Stony Lonesomes," a fiddler (Paul McCallister), a banjo player (Shelly Beck) and a bass player (Chuck Baker). With Heslington, they give the audience a hand-clappin', foot-stompin' concert.
Julie McLane plays Holly Burrell, the daughter of one of the Nations' neighbors who did sell their land, and she tries to get them to hold onto their heritage.
"Foxfire" is not necessarily a story with a beginning and an ending, but it is a slice-of-life story.
It is a people story where we jump in at various places in their lives and jump out again. It is sometimes happy and sometimes sad, but the struggles and joys are recognizable.
"Foxfire"is a lichen that grows on rotting wood and glows, symbolizing the new growth on an old piece of wood, but it still glows with life and with spirit, like the characters and the actors.
The play may not be for every taste, but, as usual, BYU displays its talent both in its students and professors.
Also noteworthy is the scenic design by Charles Henson and the lighting design by Loraine Edwards, who helps the actors slip between the years in the most smooth and subtle ways.