White trash, two chicks, and a chicken

By David Kenney

The trailer park myth.

Inside rows of single and double-wide domiciles supposedly lie those left behind.

Some call them white trash. Others say the types vary. And for actress Anne-Marie Leigh, it was culture shock. Spending 10 days in a backwater Ohio trailer park, she got a good whiff of white trash, Kraft Dinner and beer.

"It’s like this new culture," says Leigh. "People were very content. There was no ambition, no drive for education or seeking out the world."

Hold a mirror to her comment and you have Ground Zero Theatre’s latest production, Killer Joe.

Playing from Feb. 16-26 at the Big Secret Theatre, this black comedy covers a redder shade of neck on a whiter shade of trash.

Set in a Dallas trailer park, the play directed by Andy Curtis is an ode to greed and the dumb and dumber.

"It’s a social commentary on what you might do (in a bad situation)," says Leigh, who plays stepmother Sharla Smith. "If you want the epitome of white trash, you’ve got the Smith family."

Chris Smith owes $6,000 to a gang and needs cash lickety split or he’s burnt toast. His ticket out? Have mother dearest Adelle offed and collect the $50,000 insurance policy jackpot from sister Dottie. Quite the nice guy, but he’s not the only one. Soon Chris hires hitman Killer Joe to dispose of Adelle. The hitman has a catch though–it’s $25,000 and a retainer named Dottie.

"He (Chris) suddenly jumps into the deep end and he’s just over his head," says Leigh.

And she doesn’t help. As Sharla, Leigh throws a wrench into things and surprise, surprise, things get complicated.

"She’s an an opportunist," says Leigh of her gold-digging character. "She’s not very nice."

And she’s not the only one. Every character has both a pathetic and shady past, and each one has their own agenda. Unfortunately, no-one can really seem to get things right.

"There are surprises for every character you just don’t even think about," says Leigh. "There are a lot of twists and turns in the play that keep it moving fast."

Some of those surprises include shockers and others to make you giggle, but forget about leaving mid-play, it ain’t happenin’. The only way out is to walk right through the set/trailer.

"There’s no escape," says Leigh. "It’s like a car wreck, you have to watch it."

Sounds like a white trash thing to do.