published Monday, October 10th, 2011

Off the Couch: Theater takes center stage

LISA DENTON: Barry, I got so far off the couch last week that I didn't make it back in time to help with the column, so thanks for filling in. I thought you might try to impersonate me and say something crazy, but to paraphrase Tyler Perry, I can do crazy all by myself.

Speaking of Perry, another one of his productions will stop Tuesday at Memorial Auditorium. "The Haves and the Have Nots" is a new play that follows the life of a wealthy family who realize that what they have and what they need may be very different. Palmer Williams Jr., who has been in Perry's "House of Payne" on TBS, has a key role, but Madea is missing from the cast of characters this go-round.

BARRY COURTER: I did consider filling in for you last week, but I just couldn't get my head into that place without scaring myself. I wasn't sure I could find my way back. You should leave bread crumbs or something.

LISA: Bread crumbs won't work. You've seen me eat, and you know I don't leave anything behind.

BARRY: Good point. A yarn trail maybe. You've spun a few of those over the years.

Anyway, I'm a big fan of Tyler Perry and just about everything he's done. His works can make you laugh, cry and think all at the same time. He does silly and deep as well as anyone right now. And he's managed to do it primarily from Atlanta, so that is cool.

LISA: It is cool. I learned from the A&E network's "Biography" website that only 30 people turned out for his first show, the musical "I Know I've Been Changed," and that his rags-to-riches tale even includes him having to sleep in his car at one point in his life. So he really has come a long way.

BARRY: He now owns his own island in the Bahamas.

LISA:Also opening Friday on the Mainstage at Chattanooga Theatre Centre is "Dark of the Moon," the dark tale of a witch boy who falls in love with a human girl. It's based on a centuries-old European folk song but set in Appalachia. You could think of it as "Twilight" with a twang.

BARRY: Reckon fans fall into either a Team Bubba or Team Cletus group like the "Twilight" folks do?

Speaking of theater shows based on classics (haha), the Patten Performances series is showcasing Imago Theatre's "ZooZoo" on Friday. What they do is pretty out there, but basically they take some recognizable characters and through costuming, lighting, staging and theatrical magic turn them into entirely different characters. Humans turn into amphibians, which turn into boulders. That kind of thing.

LISA: Sounds like that movie classic "Transformers" (haha again). Actually, the video preview I saw reminds me more of falling through the looking glass. Giant penguins playing musical chairs. Frogs playing leapfrog. Rabbits that hip-hop. It looks crazy cool.

BARRY: Reminds me of a dream I had last week.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

about Lisa Denton...

Lisa Denton is deputy features editor and content editor of Current. She previously was a lifestyle, entertainment and region reporter/pod leader for The Chattanooga Times, which she joined in 1983. Lisa is from Sale Creek and holds an associate’s degree in journalism from Chattanooga State Community College. Contact Lisa at 423-757-6281 or

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