Community Theater

Madison Community Players bring ‘Francine’s Will’ to stage

The play will kick off the 2017 schedule

(February 2017) – In its first play of the year, the Madison Community Players are scheduled to perform a comedy that focuses on the provocative topic of “entitlement.” What happens when a billionaire dies, leaving relatives behind to fight over her fortune? No one behaves well in these circumstances, says JoAnne Spiller, who heads the board of the Madison Community Players and also acts in the play, “Francine’s Will.”
Written by Mary Dattilo, the play will be performed Feb. 10-12 at the Old Market on Main, 802 W. Main St in Madison, Ind.
“Francine’s Will” won first place in the Nutmeg Players New Works Festival in 2006. A native of Baltimore, Dattilo lives in New England with her husband, Joseph. Her first novel, “Time’s Edge,” which she wrote with her spouse, won the Tassy Walden Award in 2005. Dattilo began to write and act when she was a fourth-grader. She has written and performed in many plays.
Spiller wondered if the playwright or her spouse were related to the Dattilo family of Madison, but after some investigation learned that to their knowledge, there is no connection. 

Photo courtesy of
Stephanie Hellmann

Cast members of “Francine’s Will” are (seated in front from left) Julie Swartz and JoAnne Spiller (standing from left) Erik Bush, Casey Bloos, Sam Swartz, Jamie Royce, Blythe Couch and Ron Hopper. Missing from the photo is Lindsay Bloos.

When the play opens, Francine Faraday has died and left her entire estate to her long-time companion, H.P. Manley. Members of her staff are delighted. Predictably, family members are furious. Her “greedy and grasping relatives” think they deserve her fortune, according to Spiller. There is a good deal of plotting in the play. “Nobody behaves well when billions are at risk.”
“We are having a great time putting it together,” said Spiller. “All of us are friends. We have a married couple and a mother-daughter team.”
Directed by Jamie Royce, the cast of nine includes Ron Hopper, Erik Bush, Julie Swartz, Sam Swartz, Lindsay Bloos, Casey Bloos, Blythe Couch, Royce and Spiller. Stephanie Hellman said she is assisting with the production. Kelley Hoagland will be doing tech.
Tickets for “Francine’s Will” are $30. Reservations should be made by Feb. 6 so that dinners can be ordered. Call Spiller at (812) 701-9449 for information.

The Madison Community Players was organized in 2011. It took some time to get the group off the ground, Spiller said. Now the theatrical group tries to perform four plays a year and a children’s workshop.

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