ASF playwright visits Two Rivers Arts Council

Published 11:29 pm Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Playwright Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder paid a visit to the Two Rivers Arts Council at Lyon Hall lastweek and discussed her upcoming play, “The Furniture of Home.”

This play will be shown at the Octagon Stage of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery from March 6 through 29.

“The Furniture of Home” follows on the heels of Wilder’s great success, “Gee’s Bend,” a tale about the Alabama community noted for its beautiful quilts which, like “Furniture,” was commissioned by the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.

Email newsletter signup

“’The Furniture of Home’ follows a grandmother and her granddaughter as they try to rebuild in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina,” Wilder said. “A lot of people might think that sounds like a sad story, but actually, it is really a humorous and hopeful kind of story.”

A 27-year-old native of Mobile, Wilder was commissioned by ASF to write a play based on the aftermath of the 2005 hurricane that caused tremendous destruction along the Gulf coast.

“I felt really compelled to tell the story about the Alabama Gulf coast, because I felt like they had been very much overlooked by the national media,” she said. “It was a way to tell an untold story.

“Some of the inspiration came from a series of photographs that were taken by some middle-school students in Bayou LaBatre. Their teachers, in the aftermath of the storm, gave them all 35-milimeter cameras and sent them out to photograph what their lives were like now. The images that they came back with were pretty powerful.

“I also found inspiration just in talking with people in the community,” she said, “to get to know some of the people down there and hear their stories.”

Wilder said much of the story is how we redefine family and home in a time of crisis.

“A lot of it is about letting go, about loss and how you move on,” she said. “Also, about how you keep those memories alive as well.

“I’m excited about the play. It’s been a hard play to write, but it’s been worth the effort.”

The Two Rivers Arts Council is looking into getting a bus to see the play in Montgomery. Information about that will be publicized when it is known.