The Barter and a timely Play.
During the Depression, Robert Porterfield, an enterprising young actor, returned to his native Southwest Virginia with an extraordinary proposition: Bartering produce from the farms and gardens of the region to gain admission to see a play.
So on June 10, 1933, Barter Theatre opened its doors, making Barter Theatre one of the oldest professional theatres in the nation. Proclaiming "With vegetables you cannot sell, you can buy a good laugh." The price of admission was 40 cents or the equivalent of produce. About 80 percent of the Depression-era audience paid their way with vegetables, dairy products and livestock.
The "Ham for Hamlet" continues at least once a season and the proceeds go to the area food bank. The Barter has two stages and a cafe close by. If you have the chance go see a play at the Barter by all means do so. Explore the web site and I am sure it will garner your interest. The 2006 calender can be found here. The first play is Laying In State by David C. Hyer. I caught it last year and I thought it was great. The play is a first rate political comedy:
The late state senator has been laid to rest as a result of a ridiculous gun accident that has made him into a national hero. The local political party officials are strenuously looking for someone to fill his Senate seat. His ex-wife is looking for a bugler to play for his funeral. And Buttons, the stripper, and a host of other zany characters are looking for love, votes, the right casket, and a big purple squirrel named Mel - all in this madcap comedy about love and politics in a world where everything is not what is seems.
That should fit right in after this weeks happenings at the capital. The timing for this play is right on target and I plan to see it again. Abingdon is my favorite city around SWVA. With the recent trend of Virginia's bloggers getting together, I would like to see that happen here in SWVA. Rooms at the Martha Washington Inn, catch a play at the Barter, and then a nice dinner at The Tavern built in 1779. I could go for that. The three above mentioned places are rich in history. I hope everyone who reads this will check out the links and make plans to visit. If you do, you will see how lucky Chad, Brian, Charlie, Steve, Mandy, Adam, and myself are to live close by.