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Ban would mean curtains for smoking onstage

Publication Date: 2005-03-29
  • Publication:Atlanta (GA) Journal-Constitution
Add smoking to the list of make-believe. Actors will be forced to fake the flick and fire of cigarettes and cigars should Georgia become the 12th state to adopt a public smoking ban.

No exemptions for "theatrical smoking" are included in the lengthy list of exemptions of SB90, now slugging its way through the 2005 General Assembly, which is approaching the last days of its own show...

For the Alliance Theatre's production of "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter," which runs through April 24, no make-believe is required, at least not for inhaling. Cigarettes fuel several characters' angst-filled lives and their exhalations often hang heavy onstage.

"We really tried to cut back on the smoking," said playwright Rebecca Gilman. She adapted the play from Carson McCullers' acclaimed novel of the same name that's based in Columbus during the Depression. In one of the play's scenes, the price for a pack of cigs -- 16 cents -- is reviled as outrageous.