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Marshall Prater is Doc Porter in Lab’s ‘Crimes of the Heart’


Crimes 005SOn stage at Lab Theater through January 21 is Beth Henley’s Southern Gothic tragi-comedy, Crimes of the Heart.

The story follows three sisters who have reunited for the first time in a decade at their Granddaddy’s house in Hazlehurst, Mississippi. Lenny Magrath is the eldest. She actually never left Hazlehurst, remaining in the home to care for Granddaddy, whose health has been steadily declining and who is presently in the hospital with the vessels in his brain all a popping.

Crimes 007SBabe is the youngest. Granddaddy married her off to a successful lawyer by the name of Zach. Just one problem – Zach is abusive and Babe detests the sound and sight of him. She just posted bail for Zach’s attempted murder. But she didn’t shoot him in self-defense. Rather, Babe was defending the 15-year-old African American boy with whom she was having an extramarital affair – and Zach has the photos to prove it.

Crimes 076SThe middle girl is Meg. Beautiful, charming and talented as well, she left Hazelhurst for L.A. to pursue a singing and acting career. But L.A. is a hard place in which to find fame and fortune, and following the collapse of her career and a brief stint in a psychiatric hospital following a nervous breakdown, Meg’s back home and getting ready to rekindle her relationship with the man she left behind. Never mind that he’s married with two children now, to a Yankee of all things!

Meg’s prey is Doc Porter. He got his name because he’d set his Crimes 077Ssights and heart on a career in medicine since he was a small boy. But then, he fell for Meg and got his leg crushed when she convinced him to stay with her in Biloxi rather than evacuating with everyone else as Hurricane Camille raced across the Gulf of Mexico for the Mississippi coast. He lost his ambition to become a doctor, but kept the nickname. And after Meg ran off to L.A. to pursue a singing career, he met and married a Yankee, who gave him the boy and girl he’d always Crimes 081Swanted. But the heart wants what the heart wants, and that would be Meg. Apparently, neither Doc nor Meg is known for making good decisions, with the outcome becoming more or less guaranteed with each glass of bourbon the twosome drains.

Marshall Prater plays the unassuming Doc Porter, and he makes the most of the limited lines and appearances that playwright Beth Henley gives his character in Crimes of Crimes 080Sthe Heart.

Born and raised in Fort Myers, Marshall has been acting off-and-on since he was 16 years old. This is his debut at the Laboratory Theater of Florida, but he’s no newcomer to the stage. Marshall has been in shows at Theatre Conspiracy, FGCU Theater Lab, Cultural Park, and the Florida Repertory Theater. Marshall enjoys watching films, sports, reading plays and working out.

January 5, 2018.


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