Back Alley Productions invites you to attend the coming of age classic “Picnic,” written by William Inge. Performances will take place at the historic Mars Theatre on Aug. 3, 4, and 11 at 8 p.m. And matinees will be performed on August 5, 11, and 12 at 2:30 p.m.

The Mars is located at 117 N. Chattanooga St., LaFayette. Tickets can be purchased online at www.BAPshows.com or at the box office 30 minutes before show time.

Parking is free.

The intimacy of small-town life and its stifling limitations are at the forefront of “Picnic,” William Inge's 1953 Pulitzer-winning study of one eventful Labor Day in Eisenhower-era Kansas. If you come from a small town, you will recognize someone in each character.

The story is ignited when the charming and seductive drifter, Hal, stumbles into town by way of an old college friend Alan. Alan greets Hal warmly -- as do the women of the town. However, the cordialness ends quickly when Hal takes a strong interest in Alan’s beautiful but naive girlfriend Madge.

“This is going to be a very special show,” Director Madison Smith said. “It holds a special place in the hearts of many theatre-goers, including myself.”

But you don’t have to be theatre obsessed to appreciate Inge, Smith adds.

“Inge brings a common experience: that first rush of naive love, the moment you decide to break away from your parents ideals, the pain of being judged first and foremost on outward physical beauty — it’s a very universal coming of age experience.”

As Hal enters Kansas’ Labor Day festivities, his obvious differences from the town people become immediately evident; the women of the town particularly take notice of him, but Hal is only interested in Madge, despite her prior commitment to Alan. Thus the seeds of conflict begin to grow in this small town. As the town’s matriarch’s look on, Hal’s presence brings down facades and old town agendas.

“The message of this story is important and relevant to today,” Smith added. “It’s about finding yourself in the backdrop of that very confusing and often painful time of going from young girl to a woman — where your ideas of love are shattered and rebuilt, and your own identity has to either shrink or grow, against the backdrop of 1950’s era America.” Smith feels that the examination of value being determined by beauty or brains is still relevant today.

“I think everyone will relate to someone on the stage, and this cast has been first rate in bringing Inge’s work to life. We’re excited to bring this story alive this August”

Tickets can be purchased online at www.BAPshows.com or at the box office thirty minutes before performances on the day of show. Ticket prices are $16 for general admission, $13 for seniors and $12 for students.

For questions, call 706-621-2870. This show has adult themes and may not be appropriate for audiences under 13.