LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – Postmark LaFollette Theater debuted its latest production, Northbound, another original play written by local playwright Tony Branam, starting over the weekend.    Last fall, Postmark LaFollette was selected as one of the six venues to host the traveling Smithsonian Exhibit, Crossroads:  Changes in Rural America.    As part of the project Postmark decided that the Pre-Smithsonian venture would be a play that tied into the exhibit.  The play takes place in the mid 1950’s when times were changing due to mines closing and less and less opportunity for decent paying jobs.  Across rural, America things were changing especially in the rural Appalachian areas. Local area residents are moving North for better paying jobs and families are experiencing the transition.  However, the one thing that time has not been able to change is that of the family dynamic of sibling rivalry and how an older brother and younger sister are still able to needle each other and become the source of stepping on most parents last nerve.

TOP PHOTO:  A friend and supporter of Postmark LaFollette, Sen. Ken Yager (second from right on front row), attended Sunday’s performance.  In 2018, Yager, working with LaFollette city officials we were able to secure a $50,000 appropriation in the FY 2018-19 state budget to restore the wooden windows in the historic Post Office, which is the home of Postmark La Follette.   

Many in the audience, whether born from the 1940’s through the mid-2000s will recognize who James and Imogene Walden are and how their parents Nancy and Hubert Walden are dealing with the whole task at hand of getting the family on the bus that will take them to a whole new experience.  Along the way, they meet a variety of travelers that bring about a surprising twist of mystery to the story.  Branam has been able to capture the humor of the events surrounding something that has some uncomfortable beginnings.  Come join the cast for a hilarious ride up 25W on its very own Scenic Cruiser.

The cast is made up of members of the local community.  Some are returnees, others have never done this before.  Some are real family members who have made a concerted effort to do something together, like Gary Roberts and his daughters Anaia and Aleeyah, Kyle McDowell returned and brought along his daughter Lindsay for the ride.  Returnees Dalton Corker and Haley Riggs are becoming regulars and Cade Sexton has joined in on the fun too.   Nora Ellison came to audition for Jamboree and ended up not only performing on the Jamboree stage but is now a member of the cast.   Branam returns to the stage and suggested that his friend Ken stop by and before you know it Ken was hooked, not only is he part of the cast, but has become a major carpenter for set building.  Sadie Bright is just a bundle of smiles and has a ton of energy and Preston Miller, who participated in last year’s Theater Camp and kept the bug to act, was just waiting in the wings to get back out on stage.

There were six performances of Northbound starting this past weekend.  This week, more eekend performances are scheduled for Fri., Aug 30 and Sat., Aug 31 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 1 with a 2 p.m. matinee performance.  Doors open at 6:15 and 1:15.    Tickets are available at Community Trust Bank and United Cumberland Bank.  Seniors and students are $10, others are $12.50.  Go online to to check out more information and reserve tickets via email for payment and will call pick up on day of performance.  (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 08/26/2019-6AM-PHOTO COURTESY OF IZAK BRIGHT)