Back piddlin’ and a new play’s in town

Published 5:52 pm Friday, May 5, 2023

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“Well, It’s All Over Town” and exactly what folks are saying about the brand-new folk life play at the We Piddle Around Theater, Lawrence Bowden is not quite sure.

Bowden is the president of the Brundidge Historical Society, which is well-known for its production of Alabama’s Official Folk Life Play, “Come Home, It’s Suppertime.” The official folk life play has a Governor’s Tourism Award to its credit, which says a lot about community theater in a town of 2,000.

The BHS is also the host of the annual Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival and dozens of other performances at the We Piddle Around Theater.

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“But, we were a little hesitant to try a new play,” Bowden said. “‘Come Home’ has been so successful for us since 2002, we were reluctant to try something new.”

However, Bowden said the new play, “We’ll It’s All Over Town,” is also set in the rural South during the Great Depression. The new folk life play tells stories that are worth the telling … stories about cars with automatic turn signals, about the centers of gossip a.k.a. the beauty parlor and the barber shop – about burials and underdrawers and hopes and dreams that were held and let go and about tragedy and the overcoming of it.

“We thought the new play could work,” Bowden said. “We decided to give it try. Margie Benson, a highly-respected director from Ozark, agreed to direct the play. And, opening night was an indication that ‘Well, It’s All Over Town’ is a good fit for the We Piddle Around Theater. It won’t ever take the place of ‘Come Home,’ which is very special to all of us who have been a part of it. ‘Come Home’ truthfully tells stories of Hard Times and those who lived and survived them. But, the new folk life play is good in that it tells about the iceman, tent revivals, strange burials, illiterate preachers and also happiness and heartbreak.”

All those things were talked about all over town but many of those who came to the We Piddle Around Theater opening night came because they had heard about “Come Home” and the We Piddle Around Theater. For, perhaps, most of them, it was their first at the WPA Theater.

Tommy and Becky Nix, from Tallahassee, were at the We Piddle Around Theater just to be at the theater. The play was icing on the cake so to speak.

“We had heard so much about the We Piddle Around Theater and how unique it is,” Becky said. “We had planned to come and looked forward to it and then CIVID. When we found about this play made plans to come. And, we are so excited. It’s so unique. I could never have imagined a theater like this.

“The food was great, the play was great, we’ve have had a great time and look forward to coming back.”

The responses from the large group from Ridgecrest Baptist Church were the same and so from seasoned piddlers.

“Well, It’s All Over Town” was not without bumbles and a missed line or two but,” Bowden said, “It’s folk life and that’s what the We Piddle Around Theater is all about, telling stories of times passed and those who lived them, about the happiness and the heartbreak and the realization that it was worth it all.