Come laugh, have fun at Little Theatre

Published 12:49 am Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Greetings, Natchez and the Miss-Lou!

Natchez Little Theatre, Mississippi’s oldest community theatre and a charitable non-profit organization, is proud to present a wildly eccentric Southern comedy about an unusual Southern family in a small Mississippi town, Eudora Welty’s “The Ponder Heart.” The show will run at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Friday, Nov. 3-5, and close at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 6. Tickets are $15 for non-members of Natchez Little Theatre and may be reserved by calling the theatre at 601-442-2233 or by purchasing your tickets securely online at

“The Ponder Heart” is set in the fictional town of Clay, Mississippi. It’s wealthiest and most eccentric resident, Uncle Daniel Ponder, played by Stacey Carden, is an amiable Southern gentleman who buys everybody ice cream cones, drives them around the county in his Studebaker and invites them all to his big murder trial. He even welcomes the out-of-town prosecutor, played by Bo Allen, on arrival and offers him lodging in his family’s hotel, run by his tireless niece, Edna Earle Ponder, played by Bennie Boone. The prosecutor is shocked, for Uncle Daniel Ponder is the defendant.

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It seems that he one day decides that he is getting on in years, and so he married a young girl. The girl, Bonnie Dee Peacock, played by Katie Borum, is totally ignorant and child-like. He met her at the candy counter at the Jitney Jungle. During their 90-day trial marriage, she does nothing but send for a TV set, refrigerator, electric stove, dishwasher, telephone and a vast assortment of electrical gadgets, even though there is no electricity in his family antebellum home, Ponder Hill.

But Uncle Daniel Ponder loved her dearly. And now he is accused of murdering her. He is so guileless that he does not realize until the climax of the trial that the state accuses him of the murder and then mild Uncle Daniel gets his dander up. Here is one of the truly original characters of modern American drama. Uncle Daniel Ponder is the most amiable man on earth, and no one can resist taking him and his eccentric habits to their heart.

The New York Daily News called the play “disarming, daffy and definitely delightful.” The New York Times said the play was “original, charming and funny. … It’s delightful.” “The Ponder Heart” ran on Broadway from Feb. 16 – June 23, 1956. Una Merkel won the Tony Award for her portrayal of Edna Earle Ponder.

“The Ponder Heart” is directed by me and stars a cast of veteran NLT actors and newcomers. The cast of eccentric characters includes Tim Leak, Sara Davis, Yvonne Murray, Charlie Vess, Tyler Brown, Sheri Brown, Terrence Robinson, Makayla Matthews, Lydia Baer, Michael Ware, Micah Riggs, Bradley Richardson, Zachary Richardson, Haley Howington, Janet McNeely, Reiley Richardson and April Benn.

Don Vesterse constructed the sets from my design, and they were decoratively painted by Jennifer Rosso. My assistant directors and stage managers are Sara Davis and Tyler Brown.

If you are in the mood for a good laugh and a delightful tale, come to Natchez Little Theatre at 319 Linton Aven. at Maple Street Nov. 3-6 and enjoy incredible local talent at Eudora Welty’s comedy, “The Ponder Heart!”

Layne Taylor is the artistic and executive director for Natchez Little Theatre and the director of “The Ponder Heart.”