Eye on the Scene: Stage Directions

Stage Directions

Long time no hear from Actors Co-op, Knoxville’s favorite vagabond theater company. Marat/Sade, the company’s most recent production, drew respectable crowds back in May at Ironwood Studios.

“From my end as an actor/director, I really dug it,” says founder and artistic director Amy Hubbard, who spends most of her days now as the general manager and smiling public face of the Glowing Body yoga studio. “It’s challenging/interesting/stressful/exciting to do essentially a play within a play about a historic event related to revolution while playing lunatics—especially right now. I personally love found-space theater and Ironwood is a great found space. I feel it suited Marat/Sade very well and was artistically pleased with the productions. We only ran for two weekends and the first weekend had low attendance but the second weekend was packed. Knoxville is weird that way.”

The months to come promise a pretty broad spectrum of programming in diverse settings.

“We are moving into the Bijou for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which begins rehearsal this Sunday,” says Hubbard. The show opens on Nov. 28. Actors Co-op will also present The Secret Garden at the Bijou over Mother’s Day weekend in May 2009.

“We visit the Bijou again in September 2009 for a full-on mainstage production of something more juicy and more for the grown-ups,” Hubbard says. “We are still discussing what that will be. Maybe a Tennessee Williams, maybe not. In March we’ll be presenting a lesser-known work by Sam Shepard, When the World Was Green (A Chef’s Fable). Hopefully this will be at Ironwood Studios. In the meantime, we are playing around with a reader’s theater version of Under Milkwood, by Dylan Thomas, which we will perform wherever and whenever the spirit moves us.” (Chris Barrett)

We Shall Overcome

In 1960, when Guy Carawan first came to the Highlander Research and Education Center, then known as the Highlander Folk School and located near Chattanooga in Monteagle, Tenn., he was a 33-year-old veteran of the Greenwich Village folk revival and a compatriot of Ramblin’ Jack Elliot and Pete Seeger. Guy and his wife, Candie, met at Highlander when he took over the music program there that same year and have stayed with the school ever since, participating in sit-ins, teaching new generations of activists, and introducing the anthem “We Shall Overcome” to the civil-rights movement.

Their efforts may not have made them household names, but last week the Tennessee chapter of the ACLU honored the Carawans with its Lifetime Achievement Award for their decades of activism and organizing.

“The Carawans lifelong integration of music with activism, including their role in introducing ‘We Shall Overcome’ to the civil rights movement, exemplifies the power of freedom of expression to promote justice and equality,’ said ACLU-TN executive director Hedy Weinberg in a press release.

With the rest of the Highlander Center staff, the Carawans moved to Knoxville in 1961 after a Georgia group branded Highlander a communist training school. Since 1971, the Center has been based in New Market, about 25 miles east of Knoxville. (Matthew Everett)

Solo Piano

Christina Horn of local piano-pop group Hudson K is taking her solo act to New York next week, performing at a singer/songwriter night at Mr. Dennehy’s on Wednesday, Nov. 12, and Spike Hill in Brooklyn on Sunday, Nov. 16. Horn will also play with former Knoxvillian Jodie Manross on Saturday, Nov. 15.

“I bought a minivan to travel in and I have friends in the city,” Horn says. “But I’m driving off into the unknown.”

As Hudson K, Horn and her band regularly travel to Nashville, Atlanta, Chattanooga, and Asheville. They’re planning to record an album, the follow-up to the EP Safety Line, in January. (Matthew Everett)

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