'Cooking with Lard' actresses happy to tackle challenges
Appearing in "Cooking With Lard" are Shandi Anderson (left), Pippa White, Mary Douglass, Rachel Miller and Becky Key. (Photo by Meghan Stratman)

Local actress Pippa White plays a baker in the Angels Theatre Company production of “Cooking With Lard.”

 She also portrays a high school drill team member and, as if that’s not enough, a little girl, too.

“Most of us play three characters,” the veteran actress said. “They are all vastly different. It’s part of the fun.”

The Angels — in a departure from all the holiday fare that’s available this time of year — open the comedy Thursday night at The Loft at The Mill.

Written by Cheryl Norris and Cindy Hanson, the piece features 15 characters played by six actresses. It’s set in a small-town Texas diner, where folks drop in to speculate about the possible murder of a local man by his wife.

Chicago’s Lindsey Porter directs. Other cast members are Mary Douglass, Becky Key, Rachel Miller, Shandi Anderson and Zuri.

Norris, who will attend the final performance, said the play is similar to the comedy “Greater Tuna,” which features two men playing several wacky citizens of a small Texas town. 

“We wanted to do a piece for women,” she said in a phone interview from her home in Plainfield, Ill. “We wanted to depict those moments we all know from our lives.”

Norris and Hanson met at Southwest Texas State University, where both were theater majors. They went their separate ways after college, but reconnected 10 years ago when they found themselves in the Chicago area.

They started “Cooking With Lard” about eight years ago, working on it together and separately, often revising it after play readings.

The comedy began as a series of monologues before the women decided it would work better as a play. The Angels production will be the sixth one of it.

“It’s taken a while,” Norris said. “It’s started very different from the way it’s ended up.”

 The women drew upon themselves as well as upon women they’ve known, such as their mothers, co-workers and friends.

“The one thing about the play is that actors love it,” Norris said. “It gives them a chance to play all these different women. I think it’s fun for them.”

It has been for Key, who plays Addie, the owner of the diner, in addition to a crotchety old lady and an obsessive-compulsive woman.

“It poses a certain challenge,” Key said. “The script has a heightened sense of reality. There’s a matter of nuance in being honest to what you’re doing, but still being funny and exaggerate. It’s been fun, but a challenge.”

Reach Jeff Korbelik at 473-7213 or jkorbelik@journalstar.com.



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