Fiddling, Shapenote Singing, Appalachian Poetry and a Trip to “Tennessee” at Readers Theatre Repertory
On Friday & Saturday February 10-11, Readers Theatre Repertory takes its audience to Appalachia with a Romulus Linney tale, Tennessee, directed by Wendy Wilcox. The evening will open with music played by old-time musicians Bill Harlow and Robert Winstead; shapenote music provided by members of Portland Sacred Harp; and poetry by beloved Appalachian poets, enriching the storytelling with the sound of the mountains.
“We’ve told several Romulus Linney tales at Readers Theatre Rep, and we’re always circling back to him,” says Wilcox. “His voice is of a native son, with stories so internal and intimate, while addressing these huge themes. Staging Linney, giving him to our audience, is tremendously satisfying.”
Rounding out the evening will be music, poetry and song from Appalachia. Says Wilcox, “Tennessee is about a dreamlike journey, and we want to surround the audience with the experience.”
Considered a “front porch playwright” for his tales of rural life – often addressing themes of faith and loss – Romulus Zachariah Linney IV spent his boyhood in the South, and died one year ago this month. He is considered one of country’s finest writers, a quintessential American storyteller.
The cast includes Hadley Boyd, Mary McDonald-Lewis, Patrick Tangredi, Kenneth Sergienko, and Norman Wilson. The musicians are Bill Harlow and Robert Winstead, and the Shapenote singers are Marie Brandis, Jenn Dolan, Thom Fahrbach, Heather Ikeler, Katy Kanfer, Meg Larson, Dick Lewis, Rosie Lindsey, Anna Stoerch, Dan Thoma and David Zaworski. More about Portland Sacred Harp: www.portlandsacredharp.org