Horton Foote's "Carpetbagger's Children"
Friday & Sunday, October 7 & 9, 7:00pm
Saturday, October 8, 2:30pm
Arts Center Theater is pleased to announce its October production of Horton Foote's "The Carpetbagger's Children" to be performed by three talented thespians who are bringing the play to Gualala from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Audiences will remember Lois Viscoli from her performance as Virginia Wolff in "Vita and Virginia" produced at Art Center Theater in 2003. On this trip to the coast, fellow actors, Gay Nathan and Catherine Donavon, accompany her.
"The Carpetbagger's Children" is Horton Foote's most recent play and also his most lyrical. Although he is best known for his two Academy Award winning screenplays, "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Tender Mercies," Mr. Foote is one of America's most prolific and respected playwrights. Born in 1916, he has been writing for over 60 years and his acclaimed play, "The Trip to Bountiful" is celebrating its 50th anniversary. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1995 for "The Young Man from Atlanta." In 2002 "The Carpetbagger's Children" played Lincoln Center in New York and featured Roberta Maxwell, Jean Stapleton, and Horton Foote's daughter, Hallie Foote.
What is striking about Foote's body of work is that he has never strayed from his vision. His plays are very much connected to a sense of place: they are all set in or around the small town of Harrison, Texas, which is based on the town of Wharton, Texas, where he grew up. Many of his characters are drawn from his family and the community of people with whom he spent the first 16 years of his life. His is a world of storytellers, where the details of the past hold great importance. He grew up in a time when story telling was very much a part of everyday life, as a means of sharing time with others as well as keeping rooted to one's own history. He writes out of deep respect for his people, with an ear finely tuned to the texture of their dialogue and to the humor, poignancy and finely stitched details of their stories.
Just as Harrison, Texas, is a constant part of the physical landscape of his work, loss and change is always a part of the emotional landscape. He continually investigates and explores characters' responses to loss and change. He has said that if there is a theme to his work, it is people's courage. He writes of the courage, struggles and the dignity of ordinary characters living seemingly quiet, everyday lives. In spite of writing from a place that is deeply personal for him, Horton Foote's plays touch on things universal: resilience, compassion, reconciliation and redemption.
"The Carpetbagger's Children" is the first of his plays in which his characters share their stories directly with the audience. It is very much a memory play. Although they have a common history, the three sisters' stories are subtly shaded by the ghost of their individual pasts. Horton Foote's work has been greatly influenced by writer Katherine Anne Porter, whose view on the relationship of the past to the present is especially pertinent to this play: "No legend is ever true, but I believe all are founded on some sense of truth."
Ultimately "The Carpetbagger's Children" asks the questions: in the end, what is truly important in our lives, what are those lingering questions and regrets that will haunt us, and what is it that remains when we are gone?
"The Carpetbagger's Children" performs on the Gualala Arts Center Theater stage October 7 and 9 at 7:00 pm, and October 8 at 2:30pm. Tickets are $12 and are available at Gualala Arts Center and the Dolphin Gallery.
Gualala Arts Center is located at 46501 Old State Highway in Gualala. Please call (707) 884-1138 or visit gualalaarts.org for more information.