by MOH Contributor, Rose Peay
It’s possible you’ve seen our stage buddies on the street,
at their profession, or maybe in aisle 13 at Walmart and wondered,
“What are they like when they’re not producing
hysterical comedies such as Southern Hospitality?”
No? Well, to be fair that’s a pretty specific question…
However, we’ve had thoughts like that, and that’s exactly why we sat down with the actors behind the hit show and drilled them (just kidding this was all voluntary) with very personal (I guess that one is up to you to decide) questions about their life.
We started with the basics by asking “What do you do in real life?” Because, c’mon, who hasn’t been to a show and wondered if the detective who held each clue with such poise and confidence was indeed a detective in real life?
So, here we sit with Stephanie Bussiere, Gerry Bennett, and Casey S. Hibbert. Let’s see what they have to say!
Stephanie Bussiere, who plays the fun-loving and remarkably date-able Rhonda Lynn, proudly announces that she is an IT tech for point-of-sale systems. Gerry Bennett (an audience favorite in his role as the fiercely spirited Deputy John Curtis Buntner) also beams with pride when stating he is the Spearfish Canyon Fire Chief. Such important roles in our community, we want to extend some great thanks to you both!
Now, on to Casey S. Hibbert, who plays Justin Waverly, a husband and interim pastor that’s just on the fun side of “tightly strung.” So, Casey, what do you do in real life?
“Interesting question.” He pauses and grins. “If you were to ask my wife this question, her response would be ‘ugh.’”
You’ve got us on the edge of our seats, Casey. What’s so ‘ugh’?
“Where do I start?” Casey continues. “Construction. Tour guide. Stilt walker and juggler. I guess you could say I am pretty much a clown in real life… with additional building skills.”
With such intriguing answers from each of them, we just have to follow up with the question “Do you have any special or unusual skills?”
Casey takes the lead on this one, stating that his special skill is that he is a professional juggler and prop balancer. Prop balancer? “Yeah,” he adds cryptically, “Tech week’s a hoot.”
Stephanie reveals that she can recite the alphabet… backward? With full honesty, when stuck with the task of alphabetizing, there are many of us that still need to sing the song (you know the one…) forward to find their place! What an amazing feat, Stephanie!
Gerry just shoots us the most charming smirk we’ve ever experienced and says, “Special skills? Too many to count.” Enough said, Deputy.
So, crew, what’s one life-skill theater has taught you?
In true nature, Casey states, “Being a goofball,” and quickly follows up with the question we all ask ourselves on a daily basis… “Is that a life skill?”
Stephanie responds with the ultimate truth bomb– “Like characters,” she says wisely, “every person in real life has a backstory and motivations that aren’t always clear.”
Gerry becomes the philosophical teacher that we all never knew we needed. “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Practice, baby, practice!” Thanks, Gerry!
As we prepare to dive into the nitty-gritty of it all, we want to know more about their performances in Southern Hospitality. So, here we ask the ultimate question. “What’s challenging about bringing this script to life?”
Gerry states that it’s “not forgetting your cues or lines,” while Casey speculates that it’s “making every moment believable to the audience, like I’m experiencing it for the first time.” It’s very true that our actors have so many tools in their arsenal to make these performances audience ready!
Now, folks, patrons, ticketholders…are you ready to be called out by name?
Stephanie, who needs to see this show?
“Ryan Brewer. I promise you’ll laugh more than the last one I dragged you to!”
Casey, how about you–who needs to see this show?
“Mitch Mechaley. You know who you are, buddy.”
It’s been revealed. Ryan and Mitch, we’ll be expecting your call at the box office. As for the rest of you, dry those sweat beads and take a deep breath. Maybe a cold glass of water? You’ll need it for this last question. Brutal. Honestly.
What would be the worst “buy one, get one free” sale of all time? Aaaaaand go!
“Dub’s ‘Rambler’ Car,” says Gerry.
Casey cuts to the chase with “quicksand boots”. Casey, what have you seen?
And, finally, Stephanie defines the worst buy one, get one free sale of all time as… drumroll please… “a colonoscopy.” Stephanie, we don’t need to see what you’ve seen, we’re just sorry!
Thank you, Stephanie, Gerry, and Casey for that behind-the-scenes peek at Southern Hospitality! We can’t wait to see you on stage together. You’re quite a team!
If we have any advice for audiences, it’s “Get your tickets early for this show.” Southern Hospitality has three more performances: November 18 & 19 at 7 pm and a Sunday matinee on November 20 at 2 pm. For tickets, purchase online or call our box office at (605) 642-7973.