By Marlana Ward
Friday, April 16th was a night filled with laughter and fun when Barter Theatre presented Lying in State on stage at Heritage Hall. A full house of Mountain City residents and visitors were treated to a story filled with outrageous characters, surprising plot developments, and a little fun had at the expense of our political system.
As the crowd took their seats and readied themselves for a fun evening, Rick Rose, Producing Artistic Director/Director of Barter Theatre, took to the stage to explain how the show came to be produced and the work it took to make it happen. The play that would be seen that night had gone through 27 script drafts before it was considered finished and ready for performing.
Rose had the privilege of being a part of the script development through at least two of the drafts and was proud to share stories of play writer David C. Hyer. Hyer was known as a great, comedic writer and Rose shared how Hyer’s fault could be to follow a joke so intently that the story could be lost in pursuit of how far the joke could be taken. Hyer worked very hard to finish Lying in State but passed away in 2003 before ever getting to see his work brought to life onstage in its final form.
Rose also took time to thank the people of Mountain City for their hospitality and support of Barter Theatre. He spoke of how he always looks forward to Barter’s visits to the town and how recent renovations and improvements to Heritage Hall have made it much easier for the theatre troop to transport and assemble sets on stage.
Lying in State is the story of Ed. Ed is an incumbent state senator who was seeking re-election when, through a series of events revealed throughout the night, met an untimely demise. The funeral home’s parlor B is the setting for what unfolds as friends, family, and campaign partners arrive to try and make the most of the situation.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.