Shakespeare Fest plays are success

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 23, 2007

To the Editor:

In my last letter I talked about “Menopause the Musical.” I am pleased to announce to you that because of a huge turnout for the play, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival has extended its run through Aug. 5.

Currently running on the Octagon Stage is “Fair and Tender Lady.” This musical production is the story of an Appalachian mountain woman in Virginia and her lust for life and everything life has to offer – from love, children and a career as a writer.

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The play was originally written as a novel in 1988 by author Lee Smith.

ASF and its Southern Writers Project and professor Nancy Anderson at Auburn University at Montgomery encouraged Smith to incorporate music along with dialogue to the novel and turn it into a play.

It has traveled all over the South and eastern United States.

The story tracks an Appalachian woman from 1912 through the 1970s. The musical drama/comedy shows all the obstacles a young woman in the mountains faces in life coming from a poor background to becoming a well rounded woman.

The songs and stories paint the picture of the path she takes as well as how her mistakes in life affect her family.

If you are a romantic at heart and love good, traditional folk stories of heartache, “Fair and Tender Lady” is the play for you. The music is unplugged and done in an acoustical style. You can tap your feet to the rhythm of the beat of the instrumentation and see the story as it unfolds in the lyrics of the songs.

Featured instruments are a flat top guitar, fiddle, upright bass, mandolin, harmonica and a banjo.

The musicians are tight and do it the way the old time musicians did it in the Appalachian Mountains in Virginia on the front porch, telling stories about life and taking poetry and adding music to it.

You can almost feel the cool mountain breeze blow across your face and smell the honeysuckles. The only thing missing is a glass of lemonade.

“Fair and Tender Lady” runs through Aug. 5. If you need more information about the play, contact the ASF box office at 1-800-841-4273 or visit the Web site at As always, if you need an accommodation such as a large print program, hearing device or a wheelchair, let them know and they will be glad to assist you.

You will thoroughly enjoy your evening at this play. It brings back a lot of memories and paints a picture just like its predecessor, the novel.

It is worth the drive to Montgomery.

That is the way I see it.

William Bowman