Published: Jun 03, 2008 10:56 PM
Modified: Jun 03, 2008 10:56 PM
Deep Dish Theater will present a one-woman play adapated from Hillsborough novelist Lee Smith's most recent book, "On Agate Hill," opening Thursday at University Mall.
Barbara Bates Smith, who has made a specialty of portraying characters in adaptations of works by North Carolina authors, will perform. She did an acclaimed off-Broadway portrayal of Ivy Rowe in Lee Smith's "Fair and Tender Ladies," and has performed a Lee Smith sampler called "B. Smith Does Lee Smith." Winner of the 2003 Southeastern Theatre Conference Best Actress award, she also has performed "Ellen Foster" from Kaye Gibbons' novel, a sampler of pieces adapted from works by Fred Chappell and the world premiere of Horton Foote's "Talking Pictures."
The novel "On Agate Hill" tells the story -- through a collection of diary entries, letters, poems, court documents and other invented artifacts -- of a spirited girl named Molly Petree, orphaned in the Civil War, who lives near Hillsborough in the years after the conflict. She is "a spitfire and a burden" who risks everything to hold on to her own nature and to true love.
"On Agate Hill" was the 2007 "Together We Read" selection for western North Carolina, and has been selected for other community reading programs in the Southeast.
On stage, Barbara Bates Smith portrays Molly and other characters from the book, while Jeff Sebens provides musical accompaniment.
"The two Smiths seem made for each other," the Asheville Citizen-Times said. "Barbara is a marvel as she seamlessly slips from character to character. But mostly she is our heroine Molly, moving from a wrecked plantation to a range of sites in over a half-century's time. The talented vocal, banjo and hammer dulcimer score by Jeff Sebens aids in conveying the touching and poignant story."
Lee Smith will attend the opening performance Thursday and chat with the audience after the show. She will also autograph copies of her books in the Deep Dish lobby.
She has written twelve novels, including the New York Times best-seller "The Last Girls," "Fair and Tender Ladies" and "Oral History," and three collections of short stories. She has won honors including the Lila Wallace-Readers' Digest Award, the Southern Book Critics Circle Award, and the fiction award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Deep Dish will present "On Agate Hill" Thursday at 7:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 8 p.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m.; June 14 at 8 p.m.; and June 15 at 2 p.m.
All performances are at the Deep Dish Theater in University Mall, on Estes Drive and U.S. 15-501.
Tickets for all performances are $16, $14 for seniors, and $12 for students.
For tickets or information, call 968-1515 or visit the Deep Dish Web site at www.deepdishtheater.org