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Dearly Departed

Dearly Departed
Your Price: $16.95 CDN
Author: David Bottrell and Jessie Jones
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 66
Pub. Date: 1992
ISBN-10: 0822213036
ISBN-13: 9780822213031
Cast Size: 6 women, 4 men

About the Play:

Dearly Departed is a full-length comedy by David Bottrell and Jessie Jones. Not since Steel Magnolias has a more colourful and dysfunctional group of Southern eccentrics gathered together. When the grumpy old patriarch of the Turpin family topples dead into a laundry basket at start of the play, the struggle to get him buried involves the whole family, including the not-so-grieving widow who wants to put "Mean and Surly" on the tombstone.

Dearly Departed is a Southern-fried comedy of caskets and country craziness puts the "fun" in funeral. In the Baptist backwoods of the Bible Belt, the beleaguered Turpin family proves that living and dying in the South are seldom tidy and always hilarious. Despite their earnest efforts to pull themselves together for their father's funeral, the Turpin's other problems keep overshadowing the solemn occasion: Firstborn Ray-Bud drinks himself silly as the funeral bills mount; Junior, the younger son, is juggling financial ruin, a pack of no-neck monster kids, and a wife who suspects him of infidelity in the family car; their spinster sister, Delightful, copes with death as she does life, by devouring junk food; and all the neighbors add more than two cents. As the situation becomes fraught with mishap, Ray-Bud says to his long-suffering wife, "When I die, don't tell nobody. Just bury me in the backyard and tell everybody I left you." Amidst the chaos, the Turpins turn for comfort to their friends and neighbours, an eccentric community of misfits who just manage to pull together and help each other through their hours of need, and finally, the funeral.

Dearly Departed premiered in 1991 at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven Connecticut. That same year it received critical acclaim in its Off-Broadway opening at the Second Stage Theater in New York. It was then produced in Los Angeles where it received six Drama-Logue Awards including Best Play Writing. The play enjoyed widespread acceptance among leading regional theatres, and has become a popular choice for school and community theatre productions.

Cast: 6 women, 4 men (double casting)

What people say:

"If you were amused by the kind of bucolic mayhem of… Greater Tuna, this more ambitious trip down a rustic main street could be just your dish of cola." — New York Post

"Dearly Departed is drop dead funny." — New York Daily News

About the Playwright:

David Dean Bottrell is an American actor, comedian and playwright probably best known for playing the creepy Lincoln Meyer on season three of Boston Legal. He began his career onstage performing in a wide array of shows ranging from Shakespeare to off-beat new comedies to edgy experimental work. His early east coast theatre credits include productions at The Second Stage, The Public Theatre, The Manhattan Punch Line, La Mama, The Long Wharf Theatre and The Actors Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival. He also co-wrote (with Jessie Jones) the Off-Broadway comedy Dearly Departed, which has become a perennial theatre favourite across the US and around the world.

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