Play presents Southern history with a modern twist

Special to Black Mountain News
Sherry Lovett and Larry Pearlman will play the starring roles in the Aug. 18 presentation of "A Tale of Two Charlies" at the White Horse.

Imagine Southern history presented with a modern twist, in a play that sprouted from the creative brain of a woman who wrote about the lives of Americans for National Public Radio.

If that kind of thing stimulates you, White Horse Black Mountain will be offering "A Tale of Two Charlies" at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug, 18. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door.

The play is sure to stimulate conversation and perhaps push your ideas of what is proper behavior for Southerners. It contrasts the lives of two men named Charlie who lived in Western North Carolina in the mid-1800s.

Charlie McKinney had one wife, lived with her and three other women at the same time, and fathered 48 children with them. Reportedly, they all got along. Charlie Silver was married to one woman, who was brought to trial and eventually hanged for his murder.

In starring roles are Celtic storyteller Sherry Lovett and arts enthusiast and storyteller Larry Pearlman. Local author Kiesa Kay directs the play, written by Jo Carson, who created People Pieces for National Public Radio and helped found the Alternate Roots Festival at Lake Eden. Many of her 30 community plays were given early readings in Black Mountain.

If you thought that “polyamory” was a modern phenomenon, this play will tease your mind with questions like: "What does a wife do when a husband brings another woman into their marriage?" 

Elizabeth, the wife of the polygamist, used her husband's philandering as a way to provide safety for the women he loved and the children he fathered.

Kay’s plays, poetry, and novels are often portraits of strength in action, including last October’s play about Rebecca Boone at the White House. Kay, who has studied and lived internationally, writes and fiddles in a farmhouse with a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

“The main characters, Larry and Sherry, change character from storyteller to mountain family and back again throughout the performance, which really keeps things exciting on stage," she said of the upcoming play. "More than anything, this play is a love story that has stayed alive in these mountains for generations.”

For more information or to purchase tickets for "A Tale of Two Charlies" visit whitehorseblackmountain.com.