“Crimes of the Heart,” a tragicomedy depicting a slice of life, comes to Chico Theater Company Aug. 16 through Sept. 1.

This play is a delicate undertaking about serious matters in life. Directed by Marc Edson, assisted by Randy Ross with artistic consulting by Jeff Dickenson and wardrobe by Jill Ramsey, this Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Beth Henley combines tragedy and comedy.

Set in Hazelhurst, Mississippi, in 1974, “Crimes of the Heart” tells the story of the three McGrath sisters who reunite at their old granddaddy’s home. It is a sprawling Southern mansion with lots of staircases and corners where the girls grew up hiding and giggling. Now adults, the girls can gossip and confide about infidelities, scandals and betrayals. The sisters lived in the house when they were young because their father deserted their mother. They have a tragic memory of their mother committing suicide by hanging herself in the basement with her old cat hanging beside her.

The eldest sister, Lenny, lives in the house and cares for their dying grandfather. The middle sister, Meg, had gone to California to pursue a rather unsuccessful singing career. The youngest sister, Babe, shot and seriously wounded her husband, the most prominent man in Hazelhurst. There is tension among the sisters, which is heightened by their cousin, Chick Boyle, who wants to make all the family decisions concerning their grandfather. The bizarre, believable characters in this show struggle to deal with despair, loneliness and failure. Yet, the sisters find the meaning of happiness in life.

Chico Theater Company’s director Edson explained, “‘Crimes of the Heart’ is a slice of life about relationships and how hardships and relationships can affect people’s lives. There are some very heartwarming and funny moments in the play. It’s not a depressing play at all.”

“Crimes of the Heart,” Chico Theater Company’s upcoming musical, will take place Aug. 16 through Sept. 1. (Randy Ross — Contributed)

“I enjoyed directing this show,” he said, “because it’s not like a lot of comedy shows. We were able to dip into the characters and relationships between people. With a small cast, we were able to work the scenes and, as a director, that’s very satisfying. There are some very funny parts to the very touching story.”

Lydia Gama plays Lenny McGrath, the eldest sister who loves her siblings but is jealous of them. Lisa Saldano portrays Meg Mcgrath, the middle sister pursuing a singing career.  Kasandra Partain plays Babe McGrath, the youngest sister who is angry at her husband. Dawn Rossetta-Rempel plays Chick Boyle, the very demanding relative. And Meg’s old boyfriend, Doc Porter, is played by Justin McDavitt while Babe’s lawyer, Barnette Lloyd, is portrayed by Brandon Larson.

As each sister comes to terms with the consequences of her “crimes of the heart,” this play will keep audiences laughing.

For tickets and more information, call the Chico Theater Company box office at 894-3282. www.chicotix.com