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New Dawn play brings Italy to Gwinnett

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Actors Ashley Jones, in the role of Lotty Wilton, left, and Sharon Cagle, in the role of Rose Arnott, right, rehearse a scene of the New Dawy Theater's production of the play "Enchanted April." The play will run during February and March in Duluth.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Actor Ashley Jones, in the role of Lotty Wilton, rehearses a scene in The New Dawn Theater's production of the play "Enchanted April." The play will run during February and March in Duluth.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Actors Steven Miller, in the role of Mellersh Wilton, left, and Ashley Jones, in the role of Lotty Wilton, right, rehearse a scene in the New Dawn Theater's production of the play "Enchanted April." The play will run during February and March in Duluth.

If you go

What: “Enchanted April”

When: 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, runs through March 10

Where: New Dawn Theater, 3087 Main St., Duluth

Cost: $12 to $15

For more information: Visit newdawntheatercompany.com

DULUTH -- When things seem boring, rainy and mundane, sometimes folks just need a vacation to spruce things up.

And that's exactly what Lotty Wilton and Rose Arnott decide to do in New Dawn Theater's latest production, "Enchanted April" by Matthew Barber.

These two British housewives have become restless with their daily routines and thoughtless husbands -- well, at least Lotty (played by Ashley Jones) -- has become especially stir crazy. She later talks Rose (Sharon Cagle), a fellow parishioner, into joining her and the two rent out a small castle in Italy without the men.

The lonely women place an advertisement in the newspaper for two more women to accompany them on the trip, splitting the expenses. The new ladies need to have an "appreciation for wisteria and sunshine."

The only replies come from Lady Caroline Bramble (Katie Tucker), a highbrow socialite with a scandalous reputation, and Mrs. Graves (Maria Krohn), an older proper lady stuck in her ways.

With close to nothing in common, the four women plan to spend April in Italy together.

As time goes by at the castle, the women begin to blossom into new creatures with bright outlooks on life. But the change doesn't come easy. They all must face their pasts and learn to forgive and forget things they cannot correct.

"They're learning not to give up, not to dwell in the past and (learn to live like) that old saying, 'That which doesn't hurt you makes you stronger," Director Sherry Ingbritsen said.

Since the four come from different backgrounds, the women size each other up immediately, putting each in a stereotype. As they spend more time together, they begin to see what is inside rather than taking things at face value.

"Don't judge a book by its cover," Ingbritsen said. "When you get to know somebody, you get to know their heart and what's inside."

Men at the theater joke to Ingbritsen that "Enchanted April" is a "chick flick" on stage. Nonetheless, she still wanted to produce the story because of its spirit and message.

"I watched the movie and fell in love with it," she said. "It's just such a lighthearted, fun show. It's about life, troubles and loss, love reclaimed, just warm-hearted -- it just makes everyone want to get on a plane and go to Italy."

The show runs through March 10.