Asheville Community Theatre’s weeklong fundraiser DramaRama kicks off on Saturday, July 7 with a staged reading of Last Stop, Old, a new play by Asheville native Patsy Clarke and Ellen Landau from Raleigh. The 2:30 p.m. staging at ACT will be the play’s world premiere. Clarke, who is one of ACT’s founders, will be honored at the performance, as will others among the theater’s groundbreakers.
Arnold Wengrow, Professor Emeritus of Drama at UNC-Asheville and director of Last Stop, Old, writes that Clarke was in ACT’s first play in 1946, when she was 15 years old, “and was a well-known actress for them until the 1980s. She taught acting for me at UNCA for many years. Patsy, now 83 years old, moved to Raleigh in the early 1990s. This will be her ‘homecoming’ to Asheville.” Wengrow also says that Clarke is known both locally and nationally as the founder of Mothers Against Jessie in Congress, a political action group she formed after she lost her son to AIDS. When Theatre UNCA performed Angels in America in 1996, says Wengrow, the show was dedicated to the memory of Clarke’s son, Mark.
Last Stop, Old follows the residents in a retirement community “as they experience the ups and downs of friendships, conflicts, and reconciliations with humor and compassion,” Wengrow writes.
Tickets for the performance are $20 and can be purchased here. A reception (with cake and champagne!) follows the staged reading.
Pictured: Janell McLeod (left) as Ruby and Ellen D. Dennis (right) as Lena being comforted by Carol M. Anders as Sharon, after the death of the man Ruby and Lena both loved. Photo by Rob Storrs.