See history come to life with original play, "With These Hands"

Jessica Fuller • Jul 24, 2018 at 11:24 PM

History and theatre will collide in Jonesborough next week with the opening of an original play that tells stories from Tennessee’s oldest town.

This isn’t the first run of “With These Hands” — it premiered two years ago after Heritage Alliance special projects coordinator Anne G’Fellers Mason wrote it.

But the echoes from the past are brought to life on stage in a fresh new take for the play’s second run, which includes archival photographs used as backdrops. The first run of the play took place outside; this production will be in the McKinney Center, which gives gives show runners the freedom to put on the production complete with the photos.

Playwright Mason, who is also the special projects coordinator for the Heritage Alliance, said this is the first time her full vision has been realized on stage, so even those who saw the play two years ago may want to come back for a completely different experience this time around.

And, of course, those who didn’t get to see it last time should check it out for the production’s three shows next weekend.

“It’s the story of important moments in Jonesborough’s history and Washington County’s history. It features some players people who grew up here may be aware of, but it also features stories of people we don’t know much about, so it’s sharing this multitude of stories from different faces and people who lived in the town.”

Director Jules Corriere said she’s using some skills she picked up in a Broadway workshop in New York City this month to help bring the story from the page to the stage.

“The photos really take you from one place to the next,” Corriere said. “What’s really amazing is Jonesborough had the resources to create a photographic history of its growth and development early, early on, where a lot of other historic towns, they don’t have that resource. We’ve got that resource, we are using it, and that further drives home the fact that these stories that we’re watching right now are coming straight out of history.”

“With These Hands” will run Aug. 3 at 7:30 p.m. and Aug. 4 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 and proceeds will benefit both the Heritage Alliance and the McKinney Center for the Arts.Tickets are available online at jonesborough.com/tickets or by calling 753-1010.

Email Jessica Fuller at [email protected] Follow Jessica on Twitter @fullerjf91. Like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jfullerJCP.

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