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Saturday, April 4, 2009

THE RAINDROP WALTZ

My play, "The Raindrop Waltz" has been staged over 300 times in the last twenty year, but I believe this is my favorite poster. The Highlands Performing Arts Center did a lavish production in the fall of 2008 and when I saw the moving cloudsk, the complex lighting and the marvelous cabin, I thought about all of the modest and downright primitive sets that had been constructed over the years: The Kudzu Players,the "green door" in Asheville, the Stone Mountain Arts Station outside Atlanta, Asheville Community Theater(ACT), The Instant Theater in Highlands, the Red Barn in Key West, the Pewter Plough in San Luis Obispo, California, the Atlantic Experimental Theater in Jacksonville, Florida, the Niggli Theater at Western Carolina Theater, the Foothills Theater,the Parkway Playhouse in Burnsville, The Storefront Theater in Waxmaw, Smoky Mountain Community Theater, etc.

"The Raindrop Waltz" began as a one-act and gradually acquired enough expansion to become a full-length play. Essentially, the story is autobiographical and focuses on my father's murder, my mother's decision to leave me (age 2) with my paternal grandparents and my grandmother's struggle to stay out of the nursing home. Basically, it is merely a series of anecdotes that I heard from my family as I was growing up. I took some liberties with the truth, I guess, but generally, my family probably comes off better than they deserve (including me). Like Tennessee Williams once said about the difference between dramatic action and "reality," the play is often what "should have happened" or what "could have happened."

I think the major reason this is such a popular play in this region is because there are few domestic tragedies in Appalachia that are more devastating to a family than the old "county home" or "nursing home" issue. My grandmother's struggle to stay out of the nursing home resonates in thousands of homes in this region.

6 comments:

  1. Gary, this is a beautiful poster. Love the colors. Do you know who designed it?

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  2. I believe that Virginia Talbot, the director of the theater group in Highlands, told me that they actually commissioned an artist in Franklin to do it. I'm not sure. I'll ask.

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  3. P. S. I just talked to Virginia. The artist that designed that poster is Lonnie Busch! I suspected that it was him. Lonnie, the author of "Turnback Creek,"is a multi-talented guy.

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