Fayetteville native, actor, playwright, director, and co-founder of Ceramic Cow Productions Mark Landon Smith will debut a new installment of his Dupont, Mississippi series when Ceramic Cow Productions performs “A Dupont White Trash Christmas” beginning on Thursday at the UARK Ballroom.
Mark has been involved with theatre in some way or another virtually since birth. According to the biography on his website, “Mark’s first onstage appearance was in 1970 as Little Jack Horner in his kindergarten graduation ceremony, where he recited the poem to stunning perfection to a riveted audience whilst looking quite fetching in a red cape and matching cap, which sat upon his four year old pate at a jaunty devil-may-care angle.”
Mark comes by his involvement in show business honestly. His mother was Miss Sharon, a hostess on the popular children’s TV series Romper Room.
He has gone on to act in television series, commercials, films, and of course, in the theatre. He has directed. He has written several plays. He has co-founded theatre companies. He even dances.
Thursday’s debut of “A Dupont White Trash Christmas” will showcase an original script by Smith, and will be directed by Ceramic Cow Productions co-founder Julie Gable. Smith and Gable have worked together for nearly 10 years, producing numerous plays, short films, television specials, and notably, the Dupont, Mississippi stage series.
The first production of the Dupont, Mississippi stage series was performed in 2001. It centers around a town in Mississippi, and the small-town folks there who hang out at the First United Congregational Sheperd of the Flock Baptistical Church.
“A Dupont White Trash Christmas” is the fifth Christmas version in the Dupont series, and it should be as funny, if not funnier, than the others.
We got in touch with Smith to get a little more info on the show, and he was nice enough to answer some questions for us.
Fayetteville Flyer: What have you been listening to lately?
Mark Landon Smith: NPR and fire engines screaming past my apartment.
FF: Tell us a bit about your history with theatre. You’ve built quite a resume over the years.
MLS: I made my theatrical debut at my kindergarten graduation ceremony in which I recited “Little Jack Horner” whilst wearing a fetching red cape and matching hat, which sat in a jaunty, devil-my-care angle upon my four year old head. I did a bit of theatre in high school, as much as was available, majoring in theatre at Rhodes College. I started working professionally at 19 in films and after school continued in theatre, films and TV and started writing professionally 18 years ago.
Tell us a bit about your Dupont, Mississippi series. How many Dupont plays are there?
MLS: This is the fifth Christmas version. The original, non-Christmas version, was produced locally in 2000 and published by Samuel French/Baker’s Plays in 2001. There has also been a Dupont short film, featured at the New York International Independent Film Festival in LA, a television version and a couple of cabaret versions. The series is set in the small town of Dupont, Mississippi, population 759 and falling. Their entire social scene revolves around the First United Congregational Sheperd of the Flock Baptistical Church.
Where did you get the inspiration for your Dupont characters?
MLS: When I first moved to NWA from Boston in 1999, I was skimming the local newspaper and found a picture of a wedding couple. It was taken at their ceremony – the wedding blurb mentioned who was in the wedding, etc, and the last line read: “Following a wedding trip to the monster truck rally in Springdale, the couple will reside in Rogers.” I thought – there’s a story here.
FF: Will this be the debut of “A Dupont White Trash Christmas on the 3rd?” How is it different from some of your other Christmas shows?
MLS: This will be the debut of this version. It differs from the previous with a different plot line and new scenes, although some of the audience favorite scenes have been retained.
FF: Who are some of the cast members for this years show?
MLS: Mike Thomas, Jules Taylor, Vickie Hilliard, Patricia Kulish, Angela Hicks, Jonelle Lipscomb, Warren Rosenaur
What’s a Baptistical church, anyway?
MLS: I am completely uncertain. It just sounds funny, doesn’t it?