Show Business: I Go with What I'm Feeling

Playwright Beth Henley, 29, parlays down-home truths into hits

Sugar and spice and every known vice—that's what Beth Henley's plays are made of. The Delta ladies who inhabit Henley's comic universe can be found a few miles south of Jackson, Miss., and just this side of Bananas. There is Babe Botrelle, whose Crimes of the Heart are to shoot her piggish husband (because "I just didn't like his looks") and to keep close company with a 15-year-old black boy. Popeye Jackson, from The Miss Firecracker Contest, knits tiny jumpsuits for frogs and "can hear...

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