My Theater Debut: The Dixie Swim Club



Menopause makes us braver!

But did it make me brave enough to try out for a play?


Too chicken to try for parts in high school and college, I’ve been toying with auditioning for  Orange Community Players, our local theater group. Then last month, my friend Bernie urged me to try out for their upcoming production of The Dixie Swim Club, a five woman show.

Bernie had no clue I was thinking of acting. I took this as my sign!

I warmed up by using dramatic motions as I gave the children’s sermon one Sunday at church. “You were so theatrical–good job!” Judy said. I fessed up about the tryouts. “I’m not telling many people.I have no idea what my chances are.”

I bought the script and Audition by Michael Shurtleff, a book recommended by Marci Rich. I met Marci through The Women of Midlife, a wonderful Facebook community.

Audition Books

I read the play three times and devoured the acting book.

Audition night!

Lisa, the director, gave me parts of the script to look over. I snapped a photo. If I didn’t get a part at least I could blog about the experience. I was so nervous, I have a hunch I forgot everything I learned in the acting book.


But guess what? This won’t be my last theater post.

I got a part! I’m Jeri Neal McFeeley. As the play opens, Jeri Neal, a former nun, is now pregnant, really pregnant.


Not only do I go into labor on stage, I wear a skimpy dress in another scene, and in another, talk sexy on the phone to my brand new husband. And I’m going to age from my forties to my seventies.

Dixie Swim Club

Menopause courage, I beg you, step onto that stage with me.

At least, despite the play’s title, I don’t have to wear a bathing suit.

That would take more courage than this Jeri Neal McFeeley could muster.


32 thoughts on “My Theater Debut: The Dixie Swim Club”

  1. Wonderful to step out of your comfort zone! I think that’s good advice for all of us. Congrats on your new acting career!


  2. Congrats! So thrilled for you and this new exciting venture. I too am considering a brand new “out of the box and out of character for me” venture. I hope it turns out as wonderful as yours did! Have a wonderful time Mrs. McFeeley. 😊


      1. Believe in her. They each are BIG characters, but the audience needs to believe that these women love each other enough to remain friends through everything…and each actor needs to believe in her character (and they each have their over the top aspects).


      2. Thank you! That’s very helpful. It wasn’t until the read through at our first rehearsal last night that I really started to get Jeri Neal. Love Sheree! She really holds the play together. Where did you go to the festival?


  3. Congratulations! I first got involved with OCP five years ago when I was 48 (inspired by my son who had been in the musical the summer before), and I’ve been in the musicals every summer since. It’s a wonderful group, and I’ve learned so much and met lots of great people!


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