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Get lifes lessons, plus dessert
Scot Chalmers, right, and Dan Kniffen rehearse a scene from “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” Tuesday night at The Springs Church during a rehearsal of Fifth Row Center.


Donna Chalmers, director of Fifth Row Center, a South Hall-based community theater, talks about the group’s latest production, "All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten."

‘All I Really Need To Know I Learned
in Kindergarten’

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday (sold out) and 1:30 p.m. Sunday; buffet opens at 7 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday

Where: Lake Lanier Islands’ Legacy Lodge & Conference Center

Admission: $29, including the show, buffet and admission to the Islands

Contact: 770-945-8787

FLOWERY BRANCH — Fifth Row Center, South Hall’s fledgling community theater, is expanding its boundaries by offering its first dinner show.

The group is set to perform a second run of "All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten" at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Lake Lanier Islands’ Legacy Lodge & Conference Center.

Saturday’s show is sold out, "which is such a wonderful surprise for us," said Donna Chalmers, the play’s director and Fifth Row’s artistic director.

Tickets are still available for Sunday’s show. The $29 cost includes the show, a buffet and admission to Lake Lanier Islands. Dessert and coffee will be served during intermission.

"In January, business is slow for Lake Lanier and (the dinner theater) was kind of experimental," she said.

The first shows, held Jan. 17-18, went well, with 90 people attending, Chalmers said.

"It is our off-season here at the lake, so it was really advantageous that we happened upon (Fifth Row Center) and they upon us," said Stephanie Orr, director of sales and marketing at the resort.

"We have not done (dinner theater) in the recent past and right now it’s been such a positive thing for us, we’ll probably look at doing more in the future," she added.

The play is based on a bestselling book released in 1986 by Robert Fulghum. The book, bearing the same title, is a collection of essays focusing on basic life lessons learned in childhood.

"Two playwrights came along and with (Fulghum’s) cooperation came up with a script version of the book," Chalmers said, before joining a rehearsal Tuesday night at The Springs Church off Spout Springs Road.

"I love it because one minute you’re laughing — it’s really silly and funny and joyful — and the next minute you’re getting tears in your eyes because of the life situation that is being portrayed on the stage," she said.

The play is a series of short morality tales featuring characters in different phases of life.

The common theme is "we learned vitally important lessons in kindergarten that, if we pay attention to them, will last our entire lives," Chalmers said.

Those values include sharing, playing fair and "sticking together and holding hands as you cross the street," she added.

The actors get to play characters with a wide age range, from kindergarten to senior citizen.

"This is a challenge for the actors," Chalmers said. "We have a woman in her 80s in the show — one minute she’s playing a 5-year-old and the next minute an 80-year-old."

She was referring to Marilyn Lev, who said she believes the life progression is the play’s charm.

There’s "a lot of fun in between" the different stages of life, said Lev, who lives in Buford.

Fellow actor Lance Stinespring, 20, of Suwanee, added, "It deals with everyday life — something that has happened that somebody (in the audience) can relate to."

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