Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Where Is The Fire

Fire on the Mountain
by Randal Myler and Dan Wheetman

What does it mean to be a coal miner? Hillbilly Savants touches on the lives, the traditions, and the hardships of the coal miner community. Many of us remember a time when members of our family or mountain population walked through the door covered in black soot, eyes burning white against the sunken charcoal. The lifestyle of the miner is a part of our past and will be with our generations to come and in the grim darkness the power of a song is another side of the strength of that community. I saw it over and over again as those very same members walked in the door and pulled out an instrument. Music is as much instilled in our traditions, as is hard work. Music is a release, praise and an ending to the long day. It was a way to tell a story and to communicate with others. Now, from the acclaimed creators Randal Myler and Dan Wheetman comes a new fascinating play called “Fire on the Mountain.” From the reviews I come across this nationally recognized production on the lives of West Virginia coal miners is nothing but brilliant. Every article I came across praises Myler and Wheetman, “Narration so rich, the lively music awesomely compelling, the uncontrollable toe tapping, the dismal photos, I could actually feel dust in my throat… No American History book or PBS Documentary contains the capacity to grab the attention on the history of Appalachian coal mining, the lives of these fiscal poor families, dedication, family orientation, loyalty, suffering, threat of constant disaster, and love of the mines as do these people responsible for providing coal to heat homes and businesses during the later part of the 19th Century into the 20th. We, who flip a switch to warm our homes, grumbling frequently over the ever-present demand by the energy companies to raise the rates, live far removed from the mountain people flippantly called Hillbillies.” (Holly Bartges)

With 36 pounding mountain tunes the play touches on the realities and hardships of what it is to be an Appalachian. But, where is this playing in our very own Appalachians?
If you own or direct or even work in a theatre around these mountains you better jump on “Fire on the Mountain” as soon as you can.

Seattle Repertory Theatre

Northlight Theatre 2006

Volumn II Issue I
Spring 2003

The Practice Room

cultural cascades

kim crow

Coal Miner Musical 'Fire on the Mountain'
by Beau Higgins

FST’s Fire on the Mountain burns brightly.
By Kay Kipling

Poster Image

1 comment:

dj said...

I saw a Chicago production of "Fire on the Mountain" and was blown away. The production flashed 40's-50's photos on the backstage as songs were intermingled with folk telling his/her story. Many memories of my youth and childhood were triggered. I have lived here for almosts 40 years, but I am not "from" here. Like the characters in the play, I left to find work, but "home" is still in the mountains.
Will this ever be made into a movie or CD?