‘Raindrop Waltz’ presented May 22 at TFAC

Published 11:32 am Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Lanier Library will present the play “Raindrop Waltz,” by Gary Carden, for its special spring program at the Tryon Fine Arts Center on Sunday, May 22 at 2 p.m. The play will be performed by the touring company of the Burnsville Little Theater. The program is free and everyone is welcome.

Gary N. Carden

Gary Carden, who has presented several programs for the Lanier Library, including his plays “The Prince of Dark Corner” and “Let the Tannery Whistle Blow,” is, besides being a playwright, a folklorist and storyteller who was raised by his grandparents in Jackson County, N.C.

A graduate of Western Carolina University, he has taught literature and drama, worked for 15 years with the Cherokee Indians and has spent many years writing and performing about the life and history of Western North Carolina. Although not performing in the play, Carden will address the audience and answer questions about the play and his life.

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The “Raindrop Waltz” is based on Carden’s Jackson County childhood. The story revolves around its main character Agnes, an aging but independent Appalachian woman living alone in her cabin and entertaining and educating her family and friends with stories and songs from the past. The play has been performed hundreds of times in Western North Carolina and is one of the most loved in the repertoire of the Burnsville Little Theater.

In 1927, Mrs. Leroy Jackson, wife of the Carolina New College president, formed The Burnsville Little Theatre players, an amateur theatrical group located in Burnsville, N.C. It was the same year that Charles Lindbergh completed the first solo Atlantic flight and the movies learned to talk when Al Jolsen starred in “The Jazz Singer.” Eighty five years have passed and The Burnsville Little Theatre is still here.

The Burnsville Little Theatre has the tradition of opening The Parkway Playhouse season in the spring and closing it in the fall. The Parkway Playhouse is located in Burnsville, N.C., only a few miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway. The playhouse was the first of its kind in the south and has the distinct honor of being the oldest continually operated summer repertory theatre in the state. The first season for the Parkway Playhouse was in 1947.

The program is provided by a grant from the Kirby Foundation and will be followed by a reception for the performers, to which the audience is invited, at the Lanier Library.

– article submitted by Vonda Krahn