This past summer I wrote a three act play, loosely based on the life of Charlie Poole. Having had no luck finding anyone interested in producing it (and admittedly not having tried very hard), I’ve decided to just go ahead an publish it here, on the off chance anyone may want to read it.
I was inspired to try this after a delightful evening listening to the great Kinney Rorrer tell stories of the North Carolina Ramblers and the music that emerged from the mill towns of the South. Mr. Rorrer is Charlie Poole’s biographer and is a leading expert on the music of the era, as well as being an accomplished banjo player himself. My play, while based on true stories, conflates the story of Charlie Poole and the Ramblers and the role some of the music played in labor unrest at the mills during the 1930’s. Having said that, my characters are all fictional, and the play doesn’t deserve to be called historical.
As anyone who reads it will see, it is a type of musical that requires the actors to also be musicians–and able to perform a particular style of music that isn’t well-known today. Obviously bringing something like this to stage would be challenging. At this point I think it very unlikely to happen. One of the advantages of using this blog as a platform for it, is that I should be able to embed recordings of the songs themselves into the script. We’ll see.
In any event, look for the first act of Linthead Stomp soon.