‘Bayou Storm Rising’ premieres this weekend in Franklin
This weekend, Techeland Arts Council presents its newest installment of their No Hitchin’ folk history series, “Bayou Storm Rising,’ based on true stories of the rural communities of St. Mary Parish.
The show brings the legendary warmth of the people of Bayou Teche to the stage, with all the wit, courage and resilience of this vibrant and unforgettable culture.
“Sometimes it’s the storms we weather together that matter the most,” says promotional material for the show.
“I can imagine that those from the area will be punching each other during the performance and whispering ‘I think I know who they are talking about’ and because of a very well written script, those not from the community will definitely enjoy the story line,” said TAC President Judith Allain. “By having all ethnicities represented in the performance, we hope to bring this community together as we recognize some of our particular short-comings and realize our amazing strengths. And when we work together as one what we are able to accomplish.”
The show is directed by Diane Wiltz and produced by Judith Allain.
Cast members are Larry Deslatte Jr., Melvin Coleman, John Benge, Theresa Warren, Maddie Powers, Nicholas Borne, Denise Hodge, Judith Allain, Brennan Brown, Renita Nelson, Fallon Mitchell, Vicky Landry, Rodney Grogan, Mary Ann Fournier, Tony Scelfo, Fay Coots, Ronnie Braud, Matthey LeBlanc, Charles “Butchie” McKinley, Kenny Perry Jr., Laura Struzick, Gwen Trahan, Winston Morgan, Dale Nash and Ben Nash.
The script was written by local residents Susan Davis as lead-writer and Roger Stouff as co-writer.
Davis describes the story this way:
As a whirling hurricane threatens, the strong bonds that hold together loyal friends and families of a quaint sugarcane-farming town in South Louisiana are tested. Long-buried secrets begin to reveal themselves and long-denied feelings blossom.
A community that has endured the devastating destruction of tidal surges, howling winds and brutal flooding for generations, its tenuous bargain with nature also guarantees the bounty of fertile land and teeming waters — during good times. But as its people now make ready for the looming storm, human drama dances a step right alongside saucy humor, as all come to recognize the failings and strengths in their own hearts.
Set right before the rise of television, our rally point centers around a Main Street mercantile store, a gathering spot for lumber, supplies and news. And the people stock and store up, lending each other their strong backs, their helpful advice and their generosity, as is fitting for people who live close to the land.
The first duly-appointed black police officer of Franklin struggles with well-meaning but closed-minded friends when a beloved white youngster turns up missing. A mysterious Native-American legend comes to life when a Chitimacha elder begrudgingly welcomes a visiting stranger right before the storm, bridging together the present with a magnificent world that once was.
There’s gossip galore, awkward missteps as a courting dance unfolds and a quirky preacher, who best serves his congregation from the side of a fishing boat!
“Bayou Storm Rising” is a story of powerful winds of change that spark a community to discover its soul, Davis said.
“The inspiration to write a script came from all of the colorful and intriguing stories that have been shared with me throughout the years that I’ve been collecting oral histories for the Techeland Arts Council,” she said. “And there are so many more; we have enough to write stage plays for years to come. This is community theater that truly makes our community the star of the show. It’s told by us and it’s all about us. Expect something different when you come to the Teche Theatre this time!”
Tickets are available for $15 each from Fad’s in Franklin, the Frame Shop in Morgan City and at www.techeland.org.