Marco Players presents ‘The Bona Dea Challenge’

Will Watts
The Marco Players presents the world premiere of "The Bona Dea Challenge" written and directed by Carole Fenstermacher. The cast includes, from left, Marilyn Hilbert as Gus, Tina Cedras as C.C., Gay Smith as Tonya, Rose Curreri as Doris, Marilyn Schweitzer as Rachel, Jo Atkinson as Janet and Roseann Ruggiero as Poppy.

The “world premiere” of “The Bona Dea Challenge” is coming to Marco Island, via the Marco Players.

It is a story about seven women from diverse backgrounds who land in Umbria, Italy as winners of a national cooking contest only to discover that they are “test pilots” for a wild and crazy experiment.

The new play is written by Carole Fenstermacher. This marks Fenstermacher’s fourth work to be presented by the Players.

“The Bona Dea Challenge was inspired, in part, by Colleen McCullough’s epic novel, Caesar’s Women, and by my dear friend, Kathleen Murray, who gave me the book years ago,” said Fenstermacher, who is also directing the play.

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“Bona Dea was a goddess of ancient Rome whose rites provided women access to activities otherwise forbidden them, according to traditions of the time. The Vestal Virgins may be long gone, but the concept of women supporting other women lives on. Even while ‘cleaning up the sauce,’ the true colors of the characters are revealed, yet they bring out the best in each other.” 

The full of life cast includes Marilyn Hilbert (Gus), Tina Cedras (C.C.), Jo Atkinson (Janet), Roseann Ruggiero (Poppy), Rose Curreri (Doris), Gay Smith (Tonya), and Marilyn Schweitzer (Rachel).

Additionally, the theater gallery wall will display the works of featured artist Victor Caroli, an actor/photographer who has perfected his art over many years. Enjoy a preview of Caroli’s work at Caroliphotoart.com

“The Bona Dea Challenge” is on stage Feb. 9 through 27, at The Marco Players Theater, Marco Town Center Mall, 1089 N. Collier Blvd., Marco Island.  Shows are 8 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday and 3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.

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Tickets are $39.50 or $34 each with the purchase of a theater membership. Tickets are on sale at TheMarcoPlayers.com or by calling the box office at 239-642-7270.