In a large echoing shed full of theatrical flats, risers, old set pieces and props, the SOAP Players are hard at work on their next production, Sand Mountain by Romulus Linney. The play is actually a set of two humourous Appalachian folk tales, each one act long.
The first of the tales is “Sand Mountain Matchmaking”, a gentle romantic fable about finding the right man in a most unusual way.
What is a lonely young widder-woman to do? Rebecca is, as she puts it, “in the wilderness here on this dreadful mountain” being pestered by three suitors who just won’t take no for an answer. The three suitors consider it their duty (as well as their delight) to get her married off to one of them right quick — especially since she’s twenty years old, and “men commence low-rating wives the day after they turn fourteen”.
Here are a few photos of Rebecca (played by Aimee Grice) and her suitors (actors Darryl Mackenzie, David Badger and Patrick Turner), along with some snippets of dialogue:
“I seen you a-watching me work,” claims Clink Williams (Darryl Mackenzie), a lusty swaggerring suitor. “Whilst we was a-raisin this house.”
“I recollect nearly thirty men a-raising this house. I watched ’em all.” says Rebecca.
“Me a tad more’n tothers …Back muscles, front muscles, sweat and swearing, hands and fists and tongue, lips, shoulders, and top, Lady and bottom, Lady. You are plain ready to marry agin, and let me say it, the man for you is me. I tolerate a woman’s carnal nature. You let a man know about it. I know what to do about it.”
“Modesty in a man is everlastin’ welcome to the lady receivin’ him!” sighs Rebecca in frustration. ” I got no need to marry a man whose preference is forever in the front of his pants.”
Suitor Slate Foley (David Badger) issues a warning in his courtship of the young widow:
“There’s another old boy around here, named Skeets. He shot his wife. … That’s the kind of real trouble flighty women git everbody into around here. …I might never hit ye atall, once the flirtin’ is over and you learn to lie down and like it.”
“Favour is deceitful and beauty is vain,” proclaims hopeful suitor Radley Nollins (Patrick Turner), “But a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.”
“”You know what that is, Radley? That is a great heavy hunk of last month’s lard is what that is, ” retorts Rebecca. “And in her bones, a woman knows it, and you know it, and I know it . Favour is good, Radley, and beauty is just plain sun-ball wonderful, but a woman what goes about eternally a-fearin’ the Lord is scared of her own husband, and I ain’t gonna live thataway! So go home!”
Sand Mountain will be performed Friday July 17 and Saturday July 18 at Tinhorn Creek Winery Amphitheatre. Tickets are $15 adults and $10 students. They are available now at Sundance Video in Oliver, Your Dollar Store in Osoyoos, and at the Tinhorn Creek Winery Shop.
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Photos by Penelope Johnson