Library hosts ‘Nance Dude’ story night
Published 3:00 am Saturday, January 9, 2016
As a pre-event of this month’s Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival, the Tupper Lightfoot Memorial Library in Brundidge will host story night from 5:30 until 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. The public is invited and admission is free.
The presentation will be “Nance Dude” a 50-minute filmed monologue featuring Appalachian storyteller Elizabeth Westall, who lives in Burnsville, North Carolina. Westall has acquired a reputation for the part and is often invited to perform it in theaters and at universities and libraries.
Teresa Trawick, head librarian, said the monologue is based upon a horrifying crime that occurred in the Appalachian Mountains around 1913. Nance Dude was accused of killing her young granddaughter.
“Appalachians even today use Nance Dude as the ‘bogey man’ to admonish young children,” Trawick said. “In her old age, Nance Dude committed a heinous crime, served her sentence and went back to the hills to live our the rest of her life. Books and plays have been written about her.”
Cathie Steed, a member of the Brundidge Historical Society’s storytelling committee, said those who frequent storytelling events at the We Piddle Around Theater will be familiar with the playwright of “Nance Dude,” Gary Carden of Sylva, North Carolina.
“Gary Carden wrote the one-woman play, ‘Birdell’ that was our first June Buggin’ event eight years ago,” Steed said. “It was very well received and was the foundation for our annual summer storytelling event.
“Gary was our featured teller at our June Buggin’ event in 2011. People will remember his “blow the tannery whistle” story. He is a pure storyteller and folklorist as well as an award-winning playwright. ‘Nance Dude’ is among his best works and it’s based on a true story.”
Steed said there are many books, articles, stories and plays written about Nance Dude, but Carden’s telling and Westall’s portrayal of Nance Dude are the most captivating.
“It’s a powerful story and Elizabeth Westall is Nance Dude,” Steed said. “It’s like you are actually sitting and listening to Nance Dude and you’re just taken in by her story. You don’t know whether to hate her, feel sorry for her or give her a hug.”
Trawick said “Nance Dude” is just one of several January events at the Tupper Lightfoot Memorial Library.
“We have a full slate of events schedule for January beginning at 4 p.m. Tuesday with the Second Tuesday’s Life-Long Learning class, followed by Nance Dude at 5:30 p.m.,” Trawick said.
“On Thursday, our home-school resumes and on Tuesday, January 19, we’ll have a Third Tuesday’s Brown Bag Program which is Maya Angelou. This will be a short documentary and discussion about her and her writings. Be sure to bring your lunch.”
At 10 a.m. on January 23, the library will host a special program in celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday at the R.E. Barr Nutrition Center. The celebration will include reading crafts, diversity demonstrations. Everyone is invited.
For more information about programs and services offered through the Tupper Lightfoot Memorial Library call, 334-735-2145.