Sunday, July 31, 2011

"The Trail of the Lonesome Pine" Outdoor Drama, Big Stone Gap, Virginia


"The Trail of the Lonesome Pine" is the official state outdoor drama of Virginia.  Now in its 48th year, it is the longest running outdoor drama in Virginia.

                                                    Original painting by William Botts, Jr.

The drama is based on a novel by John Fox, Jr.  It tells the love story of a lovely Appalachian Mountain girl, June Tolliver, and a handsome mining engineer, Jack Hale, from the East.  This is a musical  drama that (to quote the brochure) "depicts the story of the great boom in Southwest Virginia when the discovery of coal and iron ore forced the lusty, proud mountain people into making many drastic changes in their way of life."

" The drama, interwoven with beautiful, haunting folk music, some of it original, is performed before a magnificent 72 foot panoramic painting of the valley."

(For more detailed information, please see the web site listed below.)

As I mentioned in last week's blog post (Please see the Sun., July 24 post.), the drama is dear to my heart due to my years of involvement.  In fact, earlier in my life, my whole family enjoyed participating in the drama for several years.  My father Bill Botts was one of those who helped get the drama started.  In addition, he, along with some other artists, painted the original large backdrop that depicted a local scenic view.  (The  backdrop has since been repainted by other local artists including Nancy Ball.)  My mother Jean was an efficient stage manager for several years.  She also wrote weekly articles about "The Trail" in the local newspaper.  My brother Nick and I have had various roles in the drama at one time or another.  (Nick has played Willie and young Dave Tolliver.  I was Helen Hale, and June Tolliver for two years.)  (Throughout the years, other whole families have participated in the drama, as well.)

While Nick and I no longer participate in the drama itself (since Nick and his family live several miles away, as do Greg and I), we still enjoy performing our folk music during the pre-show one night each season.  This year, we'll be there on Friday, August 26.  Please come by to see us!

   This is a collage I did of some of the scenes and participants in the drama through some of its earlier years.
   (The actors, etc. in the production are volunteers from the surrounding area.)

   The collage is located in the Barbara C. Polly Center for the Arts.  (Below)

Greg told me that he had been to see the drama with his family (from 55 miles away in Tennessee) before we even knew each other.  I was probably a square dancer in the homecoming scene around the time he was there.  It seems strange that my future husband was sitting right there in the audience while I was on the stage, and I didn't even know it!

A few weeks ago, I went to Big Stone and met with Barbara Polly, the show's executive producer (and first June Tolliver), and Susan Herndon (who's in charge of the drama gift shop) to give them some of my coal jewelry and magnets for the shop.  The souvenir shop is full of great mementos of the drama as well as of the area.  Be sure to check it out during intermission!

As it states so aptly in the brochure, come see a "superb evening of family entertainment."  I would have to say that pretty well sums it up.

Also, while in Big Stone Gap, you might enjoy visiting the John Fox, Jr. Museum (not pictured), and the Lonesome Pine School and Heritage Center. (See photo below.) 

"The Trail of the Lonesome Pine" outdoor drama
518 Clinton Ave. E.
Big Stone Gap, Virginia
8:00 PM (Pre-show entertainment starts at 7:15 PM), Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays through Aug. 27

Just click on the link below to see Greg's and my latest photos on iStock:

Positive thought: Volunteering in local theater can be a rewarding experience!

Thanks for visiting!  Until next time (Sun., Aug. 7), Becky

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