Comedy and Bluegrass will share the spotlight when the Vagabond Players return to the stage at William Blount High School Nov. 19-21 for the production of “Where the Lilies Bloom.”
The students will act out the two-part Celeste Raspanti play for two evening performances at 7 p.m. on Nov. 19 and 20 as well as a matinee performance at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 21.
Local Bluegrass musicians will entertain the audience beginning at 6 p.m. prior to each evening performance, and they will play at 2 p.m. before the afternoon matinee.
Using a script from the Dramatic Publishing Company, the William Blount High Vagabond Players will portray a family of four children orphaned in the 1940’s after the tragic death of their father, Roy Luther.
Desperate and struggling, the Luther children fight tooth and nail to keep their family intact, and the town in a mist of mystery about the actual condition and welfare of their father. The interesting cast of trouble-causing neighbors, nosey townspeople and prying peers create more problems for the children than could possibly be imagined.
Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students.
Theater teacher Renda Crowe, in her second year in theater at William Blount, said she wanted to select a play for the students that involved the community, so they incorporated bluegrass music into the production with the pre-show entertainment by The County Farm Boys and Sonrise as a way to connect the community’s Appalachian heritage.
“This play involves people in a situation when times are hard. It is the Depression, and the story is about how a family overcomes hard times. A lot of us are going through hard times today with the way the economy is, so I thought we needed to look back on our heritage and appreciate the great characters and people who have survived hard times,” said Crowe. “I know people who enjoy bluegrass music will enjoy this play because its about country people.”
One challenge to the production is that there aren’t as many experienced actors as she had in the 2009 class. “Last year we had seven seniors, and this year we only have four, so that been a challenge to get them to meet the benchmarks of quality we had last year, but they are meeting the goals and doing well,” she said.
Crowe praised student Amy Beam for her work in the play because she is on stage 100 percent of the time. “She has done a fantastic job of learning lines and developing the character of Mary Call Luther,” Crowe said. “She has many monologues on stage alone and had to take the character seriously and develop and embrace her.”
Crowe said the school is also in the middle of a lighting project, which is one of the seven phases of upgrades she wants to complete in the school’s theater. “One part of that was to get a new lighting board. The one we have is a 1940s lighting board. We’ve spent a lot of money trying to get that project done,” she said. “We had hoped to have it done before the show, but it is not going to be ready.”
The theater teacher gave special thanks to Dylan Davis with Merlin’s Music. “He has done everything he can to give us light, and he has donated all of his time and equipment so we will have good lighting for the show,” Crowe said. “We appreciate him.”
Another new aspect to this production is the quality of the sets. “We hired Bryan Jones, an individual who used to work for Clarence Brown Theater, to do our set. We are excited to have a professional doing our set.”
Tickets are available at the school and at the door on performance nights.