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'Crimes of the Heart' Continues

Hazlehurst, Miss., 1970s. Three sisters reunite, haunted by the suicide of their mother. The oldest sister is unmarried, the middle sister returns to her hometown after a failed singing career, and the youngest sister, struggling with depression, is out on bail after shooting her husband.

Despite their tragedies, the sisters triumph through the support of each other and their friends. And they prevail with humor and honesty.

"I found myself really caring about what happened to those sisters," said Tina Thronson of Fairfax, on Providence Players' latest production, "Crimes of the Heart."

Beth Henley's "Crimes of the Heart" opened last weekend at Frost Middle School to enthusiastic audiences. The play, which depicts the joys and struggles of three adult sisters, runs Friday and Saturday evenings until Jan. 25. Performances start at 7:30.

"Anybody who likes drama would love this show. And if you like to laugh, it's even better," said Janet Bartelmay, who plays Lenny, the oldest sister.

Bartelmay praised playwright Beth Hanley's style of mixing humor with tragedy. For her, the experience has been fun and challenging.

"It's the hardest role I ever played ... I've really enjoyed it, and enjoyed delving into her character," Bartelmay said.

Bartelmay encouraged audiences to come to see "Crimes of the Heart" and take part in the laughing and crying.

"I think that live theater is a wonderful thing to watch," Bartelmay said.