Eric Kvarnes, proprietor and glassblower at Sperryville’s Glassworks Gallery, says it’s not him but actually his 13-year-old Jack Russell terrier, Twig, who decides if she’s riding to work with him during motorcycle weather. If she says yes, he helps her on with the helmet and goggles, straps her in and . . . the six-mile commute commences.
We’ll have a more in-depth story next week on the upcoming seasons at both the Theatre at Washington and Castleton’s Theatre House, but for now here are two about-to-happen highlights for those hoping to have a seat at either of the intimate, 200-or-so-seat venues: The first are this weekend’s “Antony and Cleopatra” performances (8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday) by the Cambridge American Stage Tour (CAST) – a brilliant and engaging student troupe from Cambridge University in England performing one of Shakespeare’s most poetic works. Tickets are $25; call 540-675-1253 to reserve.
At 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, the fall/winter “Castleton in Performance” series at the Theatre House starts with a real catch – the fabulous Richmond-based Latin Ballet of Virginia (that’s some of the troupe shown here) performing “Fiesta del Sol: A Night in 1950s Havana,” a show that explores the sensuality of salsa and the forbidden heat of the mambo, with the its own live salsa ensemble. Tickets are $35 to $50, less if you purchase a subscription for all five Castleton programs through February. For tickets or more info, call 866-974-0767 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The last weekend in September is looking to be a busy one. Beginning on Friday, Sept. 28, the county will play host to three different events meant to celebrate the native uniqueness of Rappahannock County.
“Shop Sperryville” takes center stage first. From 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28, artists and merchants of Sperryville are participating in the first of what they hope will become a cherished Rappahannock tradition. Shop Sperryville will feature shopping discounts – and some free samples – at most of the local stores, demonstrations and “meet the artist opportunities.”
A collaborative effort by all the Sperryville businesses (art galleries, antique shops, gift shops, restaurants and other small businesses), it’s hoped the event will become a tradition on fourth Friday of every month. There will be a welcome tent at the Sperryville Schoolhouse, with a town map available to guide visitors to participating businesses.
Then, on Saturday and Sunday: Sheep-guarding llamas, heritage breed chickens, honey bees, heirloom fruits and vegetables, and native plants all take center stage next at the Rappahannock County Farm Tour Sept. 29 and 30. This popular, self-guided, family-focused farm tour emphasizes sustainable practices and incorporates farms, wineries, orchards, plant nurseries and farm schools into its weekend menu of events. Seventeen venues will offer tours and presentations, some selling local, fresh food products. Learn about sustainable “mob grazing” and pick up helpful tips that can be applied to urban gardening situations.
(To coincide with the farm tour that weekend, in Washington on that Friday, Sept. 28, Stonyman Gourmet Farmer is putting on a Farm-to -Forage dinner; call 540-860-9090 or email email@example.com for more information.)
Farm tour admission is a $5 donation per person, ages 16 and older. Tickets can be purchased at Farm Tour Headquarters, which is at the Sperryville Schoolhouse, 12018 Lee Highway (U.S. 211), 9 to 5 on both Saturday and Sunday; online at farmtour.visitrappahannockva.com; or at two other locations during the tour (Narmada Winery in Amissville and the Visitors Center in Washington). Call 540-675-3153 for more information.
At the same time, the county and its Civil War Sesquicentennial Committe commemorate the 150th anniversary of Civil War with a big field day on the Visitors Center grounds on Saturday (Sept. 29): history reenactors, music, dance and food can be found in the spot where nearly 20,000 men in Gen. John Pope’s newly formed Army of Northern Virginia camped out. The all-day event begins at 9 a.m. Admission is free; rain or shine.
Special guest and noted screenwriter-director Ron Maxwell will present commentary on his newest film, “The Copperhead,” as well as “Gettysburg” and “Gods and Generals.” Civil War expert Art Candenquist will present “Civil War Comes to the Morning Side of the Blue Ridge.” The day includes skirmishes, cavalry demonstrations, artillery and infantry firing demonstrations, musical performances by Shenandoah Valley Minstrels and South Fork and dancing by Tom and Lesley Mack, leaders of the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Era Dancers. Also, a Youth Boot Camp will be held at 11 and 1:30 p.m.
Driving ‘Miss Daisy’ – onto Gay Street
RAAC Community Theatre will present the acclaimed Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Alfred Uhry’s “Driving Miss Daisy,” on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 21-22. The play, appreciated for its humor as well as its compassion, shows the changing relationship from 1948 to 1973 in the segregated South between an elderly, irascible, well-to-do Jewish woman, Mrs. Daisy Werthan (“Miss Daisy”), played by Joyce Abell, and her patient black chauffeur, Hoke Coleburn, played by Dontez Harris. The third, and last character, is Miss Daisy’s put-upon but determined son, Boolie Werthan, played by Andy Platt. Mike Mahoney is the director.
In the beginning, 72-year-old Daisy is reluctant to accept the fact that her son, Boolie, hired a chauffeur for her, and she strongly resents Hoke’s presence. Over the course of their 25-year relationship, she slowly loses her deep resentment as she and Hoke develop a strong bond and dependence on each other.
Although the play is often thought of as a comedy, it also explores both racial and religious attitudes and prejudices of the era and how these evolve and change over time, both in individuals and in the country as a whole.
Joyce Abell says that “being 87 years old myself, I can feel how much struggle Miss Daisy went through over her years between the ages of 72 to 97 as she learned trust and shed her prejudices.” Joyce’s first time acting in the county was as one of the three shepherds in the first Ki Theatre production of “The Shepherds Play” in the mid-1980s. Since then she has been the director of storytelling show, “No Ordinary Person.”
Except for a small role in a third-grade play, this is Dontez Harris’ first appearance as an actor. However, he has been entertaining Rappahannock and D.C.-area audiences with his reggae band, and most recently in performances at the Thornton River Grille and other local venues with Dontez Inferno. His main instrument is the saxophone, but he plays keyboard and a number of other instruments. As a musician, Dontez has performed in France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Poland, and Japan as well as at the White House during the Clinton administration. He is also the music teacher at Belle Meade School.
Andy Platt claims to have been acting his entire life and career, but “my actual stage career began only a few years ago when Joyce Abell asked me to be in a reading of Dylan Thomas’ ‘Under Milkwood.’ My big line was ‘Ach!’ ” Since then, he has been in numerous RAAC productions, including several Christmas plays: “What’s So Funny,” “Proof,” and, most recently, “Heroes.”
Director Mike Mahoney also started his acting career in the county’s first performance of “The Shepherd’s Play,” and has since appeared in many other productions. He was co-director with Peter Hornbostel of “The Heroes.” “Driving Miss Daisy” is his first effort as solo director. Mike has also served as a member, officer or board member in many community organizations.
Uhry wrote the play in 1985 as one of three plays about his childhood in Atlanta. He expected it to run for a few weeks in a small off-Broadway theater. To his surprise, the few weeks turned into three years, and the play was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for drama. In 1989, the movie version was nominated for nine Academy Awards and won four of them, including for best picture.
In Uhry’s preface to the 2010 edition, he wonders if the play is still relevant 25 years later, after several wars, the attacks on the World Trade Center, and the election of an African-American president. Uhry comments using Hoke’s words from one of the last scenes in the play: “Things changing, but they ain’t change all that much.”
“Driving Miss Daisy” at RAAC Community Theatre, 310 Gay St., Washington: shows at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, and Saturday, Sept. 22. Tickets: $15 per person. For reservations, call 540-675-3193 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
WCDS lobster boil
Wakefield Country Day School hosts a Lobster Boil from 3 to 8 this Friday (Sept. 21). Lobster dinner will be available as well as a hotdog or hamburger dinner. The cost is $25 for each lobster dinner and $9 for each hotdog or hamburger dinner. Checks may be made payable to WCDS (please indicate the money is for the lobster boil) and sent to the main office. Payments can also be made by sending your check to WCDS Lobster Boil, P.O. Box 739, Flint Hill, VA 22627. RSVPs must be received no later than Monday, Sept. 17.
Live music will begin at 3 p.m., the varsity boys soccer team will be playing a home game beginning at 4 and dinner will begin at approximately 5 p.m. Music will continue throughout the evening.
Rappahannock homeschoolers are invited to join their peers from the county’s public and private schools at a field day next Wednesday (Sept. 19) at the Sperryville Schoolhouse. The day will be dedicated to watershed protection and will feature attractions like bug hunting, watershed models and maps, presentations on rain gardens, riparian buffers, casting opportunities and more.
Sixth-graders from Rappahannock County Elementary School will attend from 9 to 11:45, while students from the high school, Belle Meade, Hearthstone and Wakefield will be the audience from 12:15 to 3.
The field day is sponsored by RappFLOW (Rappahannock Friends and Lovers of Our Watershed) and will feature representatives of Trout Unlimited, the Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC), the Virginia Department of Forestry, the Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District, Headwaters’ Farm-to-Table program, Virginia Master Naturalists, Mount Vernon Farm owner Cliff Miller and noted environmentalist Beverly Hunter.
Homeschooled children and their parents who are interested in this combination of learning and fun should contact Carolyn Thornton at 540-987-8435 or email@example.com.