Fairfax Hosts Shoestring Theatre’s Newest Production

Fairfax Hosts Shoestring Theatre’s Newest Production

See ‘Dispatches from Appalachia – an Evening of One Acts.’

Among the highlights of this year’s Spotlight on the Arts will be the Northern Virginia premiere of Shoestring Theatre Co.’s newest production, “Dispatches from Appalachia – an Evening of One Acts.” When Glenn Gannaway, the retired editor of the Big Stone Gap Post, pulled stories from the newspaper’s 125-year archives, he found two that people in that Southwestern Virginia community still talk about today. 

Gannaway, also an actor and playwright, turned them into one-act plays, and “Dispatches from Appalachia – an Evening of One Acts” will be presented Saturday, April 27, at 2 and 7 p.m., and Sunday, April 28, at 3 p.m. in the Sherwood Center, 3740 Blenheim Blvd. in Fairfax. 

The show is comprised of two, short plays, “Finding Wentz” and “Tomorrow Might Be Sunday.” Tickets are $20 at the door or in advance via https://ticketscandy.com/e/dispatches-from-appalachia-true-stories-from-the-headlines-4206.

In “Finding Wentz,” the young heir of a mining and land empire rode out across a familiar path in the Appalachian Mountains surrounding Big Stone Gap. But E.L. “Ted” Wentz never made it to his meeting. A massive search ensued, and newspapers worldwide followed the story. To this day, people in Big Stone Gap remember and debate the rumors that have only grown since then. 

In “Tomorrow Might Be Sunday,” seven people searching for higher ground find themselves in the beautiful Appalachian Hotel as the 1977 Great Appalachian Flood rips apart the mountains and valleys in Southwest Virginia, eastern Kentucky and Tennessee. Over three days in April, the flood destroyed 1,500 homes, left 30,000 homeless and killed more than 100 people. And while the guests of the posh Appalachian Hotel are safe, each one has a different – and sometimes hilarious – reason to want to get on with life. 

“We all have these stories that stay alive within us, and we examine, debate and try to solve their seemingly conflicting details,” explained Director Amelia Townsend. “Shoestring Theatre is delighted to bring Gannaway’s one-acts to life. We see what happened through the characters he created – many based on real people.”