Annual dinner theater begins Wednesday

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 18, 2010

Chesley Coffey jumps from platforms, rolls on the floor and pushes people around, but it is all part of his act.

Coffey, 18, plays the part of The Creature in the Jefferson Street United Methodist Church dinner theater production of “Frankenstein,” an adaptation of the Mary Shelley novel.

“This is my usual-sized role, but this one has more stunts than I’ve ever had to do,” Coffey said. “Every year is fun because we get to spend so much time with our friends getting to put this production together.”

Coffey, who is also the president of the youth group, is participating in his fifth production.

The dinner theater, set for April 21-25, excluding Friday, is an annual fundraiser for the Jefferson Street youth group’s summer mission trip. The cast is an all youth cast with volunteers assisting with costumes, props and sets. Weekday performances are at 6 p.m. and weekend performances begin at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for youth and $5 for children. They can be purchased from any member of the youth group, by calling 601-442-3795 or e-mailing

The night includes a full meal, which is served while watching the production.

For Caitlin Lofton, 15, it is performance nights that makes all the long rehearsals worth it.

“It is a rush of adrenaline to see the room full of people watching us,” she said. “The process of getting ready for the production can be stressful, but in the end it is all worth it because we’ve had fun and the people who come watch it enjoyed it.”

Lofton plays the part of Justine, the orphan who has been adopted into the Frankenstein family and is ultimately unfairly condemned for the death of the youngest Frankenstein child.

“At first it was hard for me to get into this role because Justine is a very different character from others I have played,” she said. “But I liked the challenge ,and think I’ve been able to get into character.”

“Frankenstein” tells the story of scientist Victor Frankenstein who has learned to create life and brings The Creature to life and then must deal with the circumstances of The Creature’s actions, which include killing Frankenstein’s brother.

Victor Frankenstein is played by Martin Charboneau who has nearly perfected his role as the nervous and anxious scientist.

“I’m not an angry person normally,” said Charboneau, 17. “But it feels good to get the stress of life and a busy schedule out on stage.”

While Victor Frankenstein doesn’t know the dire consequences he will suffer because of his experiment gone wrote, he is warned by his loving and devoted future wife Elizabeth, played by Tess Fairbanks.

“My part is really to support Victor,” she said. “I don’t know exactly what he is doing, but I know he is doing experiments. I don’t like it and try to stop him, but after it happens I just try to support him.”

In years past Fairbanks, 18, said her characters weren’t as emotion-filled as the role of Elizabeth is.

“Normally I play happy, silly, goofy roles,” she said. “But I like the dramatic role of Elizabeth. I’ve had to adapt to the role.”

But while Elizabeth experiences many ups and downs, Charboneau said it is his character that has the worst emotional roller coaster.

“In every scene I’m in with Chesley he tries to hurt me, and every scene I’m in with Tess, she has to kiss me,” he said.