Red Door’s ‘Promises’ play has local connections

Published 11:22 pm Thursday, July 24, 2014

Submitted Photo Dr. David Dye, left, returns to the stage in the upcoming production of “Promises” at the Red Door Theater in Union Springs July 31 through August 3.

Submitted Photo
Dr. David Dye returns to the stage in the upcoming production of “Promises” at the Red Door Theater in Union Springs July 31 through August 3.

The Tourism Council of Bullock County and Union Spring’s Red Door Theater will bring to the stage a new play, “Promises,” by Troy University graduate Joel Williams July 31 and August 1, 2 and 3.

“Promises” will be directed by award-winning director, Tom Salter, also a Troy University graduate, with Dr. David Dye, professor emeritus at Troy University, as a member of the ensemble cast.

The Appalachian tale of love, deceit and murder tells the story of Joseph, a 50-year-old man who sets out on a journey to fulfill his dying mother’s request and discovers the truth of his own beginning. Newly revealed love letters between his parents expose secrets that were hidden from Joseph most of his life. His father loved two women. One gave him life and the other raised him as her own.

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The play deals with love, loss, betrayal, reconciliation and promises, both kept and broken.

Although “Promises” has never been produced in Alabama, the play has been recognized nationally by the American Association of Community Theaters.

Williams is currently a professor of theater arts at Appalachian State. “Promises” is his first play and premiered professionally in North Carolina earlier this summer.

In 1976, Salter was a theater student at Troy State University and Dye was his primary professor and mentor. Salter said one of the first theater students he met at Troy was Joel Williams. They have kept in touch over the years and have performed together.

Dye said his association with Williams goes back a few years when Williams was on a sabbatical from Appalachian State.

“Joel came to Troy for about two weeks and stayed in our upstairs and worked on his play,” Dye said. “He wrote and rewrote and, at night, he, my wife, Judy, and I would read the parts. We had a great time.”

Williams entered the SART scriptwriter’s competition and was a finalist.

“Judy and I went up and for readings of the script of ‘Promises’ in Asheville, North Carolina and at Appalachian State. We recently returned from seeing the play on stage at Mars Hill College in North Carolina,” Dye said.

When “Promises” was selected as a production for the Red Door Theater in Union Springs, Salter called Dye and asked if he would be in the play.

“I told Tom that I hadn’t acted in 25 years, Dye said, laughing. “I was accustomed to being on the director’s side.”

Salter told Dye that acting is like riding a bicycle – you never forget.

“Judy said I was going to do it so I had to give in to the two of them,” Dye said. “But I told Tom if he could cast an authentic farmer to do that.”

Dye laughing he’s not comfortable in overalls and brogans just yet but he is very comfortable in his role in “Promises.”

“It has been a joy getting to know the members of the cast and to work with Tom and Joel,” he said. “They are like members of our family. ‘Promises’ is a play that anyone who enjoys history will want to see. Joel did a lot of research on the Fontana Dam and the lives of people affected by it. ‘Promises’ is an outstanding play and I’m honored to be a part of it.”

Performances of “Promises” are at 7:30 p.m. July 31, August 1 and 2 and 2:30 p.m. on August 3. Tickets are $15. A seated dinner is offered prior to the evening performances at 6 p.m. at First United Methodist Church. Tickets are $15. For tickets call (334) 738-8687.