Thursday, October 17, 2019
‘Crimes of the Heart’ Probes the Bonds of Family
Lenny, played by Audra Honaker, contemplates life as a spinster as she celebrates her 30th birthday.
Friday, June 21, 2019



The McGrath sisters are having a bad day. Babe is out on bail after shooting her husband because, she says, she didn’t like the way he looked.

Meg has returned home nearly in a strait jacket after jet setting off to Hollywood to be a singing star.

Attempted murder brings together three sisters played by Audra Honaker, Aly Wepplo and Sharon Barto Gouran.

And Lenny—well, she’s turning 30 with no romantic prospects, having spent adulthood caring for granddaddy.

Of course, the McGrath sisters have a lot of bad days—they have had ever since their father ran off and their mother hung herself and the pet cat.

They all have simmering resentments and bones to pick—and they don’t hold back a single detail. And they all have to figure out how to deal with their personal crimes of the heart in Beth Henley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning tragicomedy “Crimes of the Heart.”

Company of Fools will present what Director Scott Palmer calls “an American classic” Wednesday, June 26, through Saturday, July 13, at The Liberty Theatre in Hailey.

“Crimes of the Heart” was written by Jackson, Miss., native Beth Henley, who won the 1981 Pulitzer Prize in Drama and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best American Play for her efforts.

The play offered a safe space to talk about domestic violence and mental illness at a time when those subjects were rarely discussed in public.

It’s also a heartfelt exploration of family, making it the perfect choice to open the Company of Fools’ 24th season, which has been given the theme “Welcome to the Family,” said Scott Palmer, who is making his directorial debut with the Fools after becoming the company’s producing artistic director in March 2019.

“It’s set in the 1970s in the wake of Hurricane Camille. And, tragically, the themes in this play feel as relevant today as they did when it premiered,” he added.

Each of the three sisters possesses extreme beauty and grace. It’s just that some things have gotten twisted, said Sharon Barto Gouran, a Wood River Valley native who has returned from Seattle where she now lives to play Meg.

And Barnett Lloyd, the lawyer who has stepped up to defend Babe? Well, he’s there because he’s liked Babe since she stole his heart at a long-ago- church bazaar. And, besides that, he has a personal vendetta to settle with Meg’s husband.

“It shows that good and bad can exist in every human and in every circumstance. It depends on where you’re coming from whether it’s justifiable,” said David Janeski, who plays Lloyd.

Palmer has seen several productions of “Crimes of the Heart,” including the movie version which starred Sissy Spacek, Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard and got three Academy Award nominations. But he wasn’t taken with any of them, he said, as they tried to make it more of a comedy than what he believes it was meant to be.

He hopes his version takes a more authentic tack as it deals with family relationships, with laughs coming not at the characters but because audiences can identify with them.

“It’s steeped in southern heritage, and we are adding a bit of a southern dialect to our speech, as a result,” he said. “But the play is very American. There’s not going to be people that say, ‘That’s not my experience in Idaho.’ This play deals with things like access to mental health care, suicide and affordability and access to legal help. And, I think, audience members will be able to connect to the pain and sisterhood.”

Company of Fools veterans Audra Honaker will play Lenny; Sharon Barto Gouran, Meg; Aly Wepplo, Babe; David Janeski, Barnette and Tess McKenna, Chick. Tim Gouran will make his debut with the Fools as Doc.

Melissa Heller, a professional costume designer from Portland, Ore., who worked with Palmer for more than 10 years and his Bag&Baggage Productions, will has designed the costumes. K.O. Ogilvie is stage manager and Joe Lavigne, scenic designer.

The show is most appropriate for those 13 and older due to adult themes, such as discussions of mental illness and family conflict.


What: “Crimes of the Heart”

When: June 26-July 13, Wednesdays through Saturday, June 26-29; Tuesday and Wednesday July 2-3; Friday and Saturday, July 5-6; Wednesday through Saturday, July 10-13. The play starts at 7;30 p.m. every night except for the special Friday, June 28, “Opening Night,” which starts at 6:45 p.m.

Where: The Liberty Theatre in Hailey

Tickets: $35 for members of the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, $40 for nonmembers, $35 for seniors 62 and over, $15 for students with ID, $35 for members of a group of eight or more and $25 for “Second Night 24” adult tickets on June 27.

Wednesday, June 26, is pay What you Feel preview. Wednesday, June 29, is Educator Night with two $15 tickets for educators. It’s also Date Night with a Chat Back and Backstage Tour, plus discounted wine, beer, bubbly, chocolate and a chance to win prizes.

The 10 front-row sets cost $10 each.

Friday, June 28, which features a Pre-Show Lecture and post show reception is sold out.

For tickets call 208-578-9122 or visit


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