CLARKSTON, Ga. — Conyers residents Martine Destin and Khaliah Daniels each attended the Georgia Thespian Conference at Columbus State University when they were at their respective high schools.
“Martine had actually performed on stage with my brother at the (thespian) conference,” said Daniels. “But I was working backstage.”
It wasn’t until their first theater performance in “Much Ado About Nothing,” at Georgia State University’s Perimeter College Theatre Arts Guild (TAG) in Clarkston, that they realized they knew each other. Today, the two theater students are good friends and cast members in the TAG musical, “Lucky Stiff.”
Opening Friday, Feb. 9, in the Clarkston Campus Cole Auditorium, the comedy features a poor shoe salesman trying to get his deceased uncle to Monte Carlo to collect an inheritance. Think “Weekend with Bernie” meets “Viva Las Vegas.”
Daniels, 20, is a member of the “Lucky Stiff” ensemble. She takes on a daunting variety of roles including a drunken maid, a Southern woman, a pregnant lady, a flight attendant, a man, a nurse and a dancing painting.
“Yes, a dancing painting,” she said, with a laugh. “All using different accents.”
Her favorite character?
“The drunk maid.”
Destin also is in the “Lucky Stiff” ensemble cast and takes on the roles of a Southern woman and Dominique du Monaco, a French singer, among others.
The play, which requires multiple costume and character changes for each actor, is a lot of fun, said Daniels.
“During rehearsals, we try and get the “dead” uncle (played by Perimeter alumnus Aaron Gotlieb) to crack a smile,” she said.
Gotlieb spends the entire production immobile and wearing dark glasses, and it’s hard to tell his expression, the two said.
“Oh, but he knows what we’re doing,” said Destin.
Born and raised in Conyers, Destin always has loved acting.
“I put on shows for my mom when I was a kid,” the 20-year-old said.
Active in theater productions while at Salem High School, she’s also performed with the New Depot Players in Conyers in the production “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” and was stage manager for the theater’s production of “Driving Miss Daisy.” Most recently she was assistant director for the New Depot Players’ production of “Last Night at Ballyhoo.”
Destin plans to graduate with her associate degree this summer and hopes to continue her theater studies at Kennesaw State University.
Daniels spent her early childhood in New York, and attended a high school there with a strong theater program.
“But I didn’t know that I liked theater until I received detention for being late,” she said. “The chorus teacher (who was in charge of detention) had us come help with stage construction for a play, and it really interested me.”
Daniels was hooked. When she moved with her family to Conyers in the 10th grade, she enrolled in Rockdale High School, where she performed in “Shrek, the Musical,” “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and “Macbeth.”
At the Clarkston Campus, she’s been involved backstage and onstage. She is taking a short break from her Perimeter studies, but plans to enroll in summer courses this year.
“My overall goal is to get as much training and experience as I can — all of it,” she said. “I do love the stage — every night is so different with the audience reaction.”
If you’re going: Georgia State University Perimeter College’s Theatre Arts Guild presents the rollicking musical comedy, “Lucky Stiff.” Performances are at 8 p.m. Fridays, Feb. 9 and 16, and Saturdays, Feb. 10 and 17; and 3 p.m. Sundays, Feb. 11 and 18, at Georgia State University’s Clarkston Campus, Cole Auditorium, Fine Arts Building, 3735 Memorial College Ave. Tickets are $20 or $5 with Georgia State University ID. Perimeter College students with their ID are free. For reservations, go to tag.tix.com or call 678-891-3572.