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Going Barefoot in the Park
No one’s barefoot, nor in a park, but everyone’s a critic. Ten-year-old Asa Chastain and his 8-year-old sister Jubilee watch a staged reading of Neil Simon’s romantic comedy “Barefoot in the Park” at the Brenau Downtown Center. The Chastains, who came with parents Pat and Deangela and sisters Miriam, 13, and Zollie, 11, are from Gillsville. - photo by NAT GURLEY

About 50 Neil Simon fans came out for a staged reading of the popular playwright’s, “Barefoot in the Park” on Thursday night at the Brenau Downtown Center.

The play, Simon’s second and one of his longest-running, opened in 1963. Its Thursday staged reading, hosted by the Gainesville Theater Alliance, was moved from its original location, nearby Roosevelt Park, to the adjacent center’s atrium because recent rains soaked the ground, stage director Ashley Dickey said.

“Simon is one of the funniest and most prolific American playwrights of the 20th century,” Hammond said during intermission. “We don’t do Neil Simon enough in Gainesville.”

Actors Dickey, Trey Butler, Catie Councell, Gay Hammond and Bill Jones played the parts of a telephone, Paul and Corie Bratter, Mrs. Ethel Banks (Corie’s mother) and neighbor Victor Velasco, respectively.