The Rapp for April 28

Brian Mallon in "Gettysburg"

Poetry to make it personal

Two newsworthy events, one recent and one not recent at all but possibly relevant:

First, the Rappahannock County Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee has decided to forgo the reception and fundraising elements of its May 7 Civil War poetry reading. Thus there’s now no charge to attend the 7:30 p.m. event at Rappahannock High School, at which poems of the war era will be read by two local guys — “Gettysburg” and “Gods and Generals” director Ron Maxwell and television star and former congressman Ben “Cooter” Jones — and one out-of-towner, actor Brian Mallon (who played General Hancock in both of Maxwell’s Civil War epics).

The other news is that back in the early 1990s, when Maxwell was looking to cast one of the generals in his first film on the famous Pennsylvania battle, an acquaintance of Mallon’s might have helped him get the part by giving him his hat.

“I didn’t know anything about his project,” Mallon said this week by phone from D.C., where he’s performing in Scena Theatre’s popular “The Weir” through Sunday. “And a friend of mine, an Apache Indian, was nearby wearing a Union general’s hat.”

For no apparent reason, Mallon said, his friend came over to where he sat facing Maxwell, “and he put it on my head, saying it looked better on me. Ron gave a big laugh. I had no idea at that point that he was going to ask me to play a Union general.”

Mallon, a popular theater actor both here and in the U.K. who’s also writing a historical novel set in Ireland, has done Civil War poetry readings before with Maxwell and actor Stephen Lang, “and it’s a wonderful thing, especially to be in a room full of people who are interested in it, and to be able to cast such a personal light on these huge events.”

This huge event will also feature readings by three Rappahannock high school students, Civil War-era music by Evergreen Shade and South Fork and reenactors from the 7th Virginia Regiment. Details at or 540-675-5330. —Roger Piantadosi

Erin Switzer, left, and Andy Platt in "Proof." Photo by E. Raymond Boc.

All the ‘Proof’ you need

The good news is that the Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community’s (RAAC) theater ensemble, directed by Peter Hornbostel, put on a sharp and well-received performance of the tricky, tasty drama “Proof” last Friday at the RAAC Theatre on Gay Street in Washington. The better news: They’re doing it again this Saturday (April 30) at 8 p.m.

The story, which deals with the unraveling of a brilliant mathematician (Andy Platt) and its effect on his caregiving daughter (Erin Switzer, Platt’s real-life daughter), her until-now-absent sister (Patty Hardee) and sudden beau (Austen Cloud) is subtle, emotionally charged and often funny. Platt is particularly convincing as a likeable madman, and Hardee’s restrained and loopy performance will both make you laugh and remind you of people you know.

Tickets are $15; for reservations, call 540-675-3193 or email —R.P.

Courtesy photo

Another Sperryville ‘Renaissance’

That’s Kieren O’Donnell as Thomas More and Jack Evans as his nemesis Richard Rich shown here in “The Books of Thomas More,” written by Rappahannock County resident William Ryan, and the centerpiece of Chelsea Academy’s “Renaissance in Rappahannock” event Saturday, May 7 from 5 to 11:30 p.m at Sperryville’s Link.

Complete with jugglers, jousting, musicians, food and local wines, the gala features the original play by Amissville writer Ryan, a live and silent auction, cigars (optional) and dancing to the Mark Brandt Trio.

Before the evening’s dinner, guests can take advantage of the open bar and enjoy a chamber music trio, harpist and strolling violinist. They can bid on a varied array of items at the silent auction, take in the wandering jugglers and jesters as well as the jousters and equestrian performers from Rileyville.

Served by Renaissance-attired waiters, the night’s dinner is accompanied by local wines from the Rappahannock Cellars.
Proceeds from the evening will support Chelsea Academy, a private school in Front Royal offering a Catholic liberal arts education to students from Rappahannock, Warren, Clarke, and Frederick Counties in grades six through 11 (with 12th grade being added next year).

In past years, this memorable evening has sold out quickly. Tickets are $75 and reservations can made by calling 540-635-0622.

Do good (with goodies) for the Pantry

On May 14, R.H. Ballard and Flavor magazine are hosting two events to benefit the Rappahannock Food Pantry. From 2 to 4 p.m. at Ballard’s, the shop and gallery hosts a book and wine event featuring the musings of Jason Tesauro on the art of a gentlemanly lifestyle. (Tesauro’s book is “The Modern Gentleman,” a guide to etiquette for men.) Barboursville Vineyards will be pouring their wines, and delectable nibbles and other Virginia fare will be served. A portion of the proceeds from book and other sales will go to the food pantry.

At 6:30, just up the street at the Meadows, home of Beverly and John Fox Sullivan, Flavor co-hosts a benefit wine auction and local food event, featuring wines judged by a panel of regional experts. Tickets are $85 and can be purchased online at Call 540-987-9299 for more information about this event, proceeds of which are to benefit the Rappahannock Food Pantry.

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