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Impossible choices: The controversial play 'Al Takes a Bride' will benefit Vera House

On a moonlit riverbank in Memphis, more than 100 years before the U.S. Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act, two young Southern women imagine their wedding to each other!

Loosely based on a high-profile 19th-century murder case, the powerful one-act play, "Al Takes a Bride," exudes both sensuality and suspense.

"The play," explains director Victoria King, "hinges on impossible choices in which decisions rest somewhere between dreaming and dying."

Staged Oct. 19-21

at Delavan Art Center

The Kings Theatre presents the Syracuse premiere of Gary Sunshine's "Al Takes a Bride" at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday Oct. 19 and 20, and at 3 p.m. Sunday Oct. 21, at the Delavan Art Center, Building C, 501 W. Fayette St., in Syracuse.

The show runs in conjunction with a Violence-Survivor Art Show at Delavan. The play's proceeds will benefit Vera House Inc.

In March 2006, the Kings Theatre produced "The Vagina Monologues" and raised awareness and $4,000 for the Vera House.

Victoria King received an MFA from the Actors Studio Drama School where she studied directing with Arthur Storch and acting with Elizabeth Kemp. Her numerous directing credits include working as assistant director for "Driving Miss Daisy" starring Elizabeth Franz at Syracuse Stage.

"Al Takes a Bride" has been previously produced in New York City and Sydney, Australia.

Forbidden love

In his play, award-winning writer Gary Sunshine re-tells the story of Freda Ward and Alice Mitchell and their forbidden love which made headlines in every major newspaper in America during the early 1890s.

Sunshine depicts the two Tennesseeans (a.k.a. Fred and Al) fantasizing about getting married and moving to New Orleans. A judge is even called in to perform the ceremony, but complications arise.

The local cast features Kristin Kelly, a sophomore musical theatre major at Syracuse University, as Freda; Dana Abrams, a junior acting major at SU, as Alice; and Earl Arnold, a minister at the Whitelaw Presbyterian Church, north of Canastota, as the judge.

Drum Media in Sydney called the play "a moving examination of the true nature of love," while Inside Out Australia described it as "a relevant story that will move you."

Tickets cost $20 or $10 for students.

For ticket reservations and information, call 425-8864.

Dana Abrams (left) and Kristin Kelly rehearse a scene from "Al Takes a Bride," to be staged at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19-21, at the Delavan Art Center, Building C, 501 W. Fayette St., in Syracuse. Tickets cost $20 and $10, and proceeds will benefit Vera House; 425-8864.

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