Gimme 5: Melanie Tubbs

Recently, I spoke with Melanie Tubbs, about her experiences directing plays in the area, and, in particular her current project, directing Eccentricities of a Nightingale for this year’s Tennessee Williams Tribute in Columbus. Here’s what she shared:

  1. How long have you been directing plays?

Tubbs replied, “I started when I was in college. I directed one of the plays at Mississippi State. That was around 1996.

Tubbs indicated that she had directed a significant number of plays, including ones with home-school groups and two other Tennessee Williams productions, The Rose Tattoo and Something Unspoken, for previous Tributes. Another play that she cited was The Left Hand Singing, a play about the Civil Rights movement.

  1. How did you come to start directing plays?

Tubbs replied, “I started acting in high school, and when I got to Mississippi State, I studied Acting and Theatre, in addition to Social Work. At State, on of my professors saw that I had a talent for directing and gave the opportunity to direct a play.”

  1. What’s the hardest part of being a director?

Tubbs indicated that the hardest part is finding  volunteers to assist with a production, saying, ‘Backstage roles are hard to fill. Everybody thinks about being an actor. You can’t have a production without having someone to put your props where they need to be or someone to move the furniture, or run the sound board.”

  1. What is your most memorable directorial experience?

Tubbs stated, “Probably The Rose Tattoo, because we had a live goat on stage, several children, and a large cast, so there was a lot to manage.”

  1. What can you tell us about “Eccentricities of a Nightingale,” in terms of plot and setting?

Tubbs stated, “I feel that it’s a comedy, and I want people to come ready to laugh and have a good time.” Tubbs continued, “it’s set in a small town in Mississippi, and it has a lot of eccentric people in it, and, as you watch the play, you notice more and more eccentricities, not just in the main character, Alma, but in everybody.”

Bonus 1:Who are the actors and what role will each of them be performing? What are the behind-the-scenes roles and who is filling them?

The cast, with their roles in parentheses, includes Lauren Trimm (Alma Winemiller), Shane Tubbs (The Reverend Winemiller), Mrs. Winemiller (Sarah McAnnally), Adrienne Cockrell (Mrs. Buchanan), Bradley Long (John Buchanan), Zack Harden (Roger Doremus), Chelsea Petty (Mrs. Bassett), Sophie Heinkel (Rosemary), Daniel White (Vernon), and Daniel Talley (Traveling Salesman).

Terry Coffey is serving as the Production Manager.

Bonus 2 Is there anything different about directing a Tennessee Williams play, as opposed to one written by another playwright?

Tubbs replied, “In a comedy, for instance, there is a storyline that is spread over all of the characters, whereas in a Tennessee Williams play, there can be a central theme in a monologue that is delivered by one or more characters, which sort of states the main point of the play, so I try to remind the actor that is filling that role that ‘this is important.’”

Bonus 3: Tell us something that nobody knows about you.

Tubbs thought for a minute and then stated, “I have a lot of semi-interesting hobbies. I garden and I ferment food.”

The performances of Eccentricities of a Nightingale will be held on September 14-16 at 7:30pm nightly, along with a matinee at 2:00pm on September 17th. All performances will be held at the Rosenzweig Arts Center’s Omnova Theatre (501 Main St., Columbus). Tickets ($20) can be purchased online at or at the door (if available).

The full list of activities that are scheduled as part of this year’s Tennessee Williams Tribute are:

  • 10-4 TENN – Staged readings of the top three entries in the national ten-minute play writing contest. | September 8th at 3:00pm | MUW’s Cromwell Communications Center (620 10th S., Columbus) Free
  • Poetry Slam – Poets read poems by Tennessee Williams as well as their original works. | September 9th at 12:00pm | Rosenzweig Arts Center (501 Main St., Columbus) Free
  • Movie Night – Summer and Smoke will be shown. | September 13th at 7:30pm | Princess Theatre (215 5th S., Columbus) Free
  • Eccentricities of a Nightingale – Performance of the Williams play will be held. | September 14th-16th at 7:30pm nightly and September 17th at 2:00pm | Rosenzweig Arts Center (501 Main St., Columbus) Tickets: $20 may be purchased online at or at the door (if available)