Montford Park Players spotlight women writers in new show

SISTERS OF THE STAGE: From left, Barbie Angell, Victoria Lamberth, Kathryn Langwell and Honor Moor form the creative team behind Montford Park Players’ “Grimm’s Fairy Tales.” Photo by Laurie Johnson Photography

In 2019, Asheville-based playwright Honor Moor approached Montford Park Players Executive Director John Russell with an idea for a show: three fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm, each reinterpreted by a different local female playwright.

“Classical theater has been traditionally dominated by male writers,” Moor says. “I felt that giving strong female writers free rein to pick their own play to interpret would provide interesting results.”

The outcome, simply called Grimm’s Fairy Tales, premiered June 25 at the Hazel Robinson Amphitheatre and continues each Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 p.m. through Saturday, July 24. In addition to Moor’s take on “The Shoes That Were Danced to Pieces,” the one-acts include Barbie Angell’s “The Griffin” and Kathryn Langwell’s “Rumpelstiltskin.”

“Barbie has a dark whimsy about her,” Moor says. Meanwhile, Langwell’s annual theatrical production at Hanger Hall assured Moor that she could create a humorous play.

Other women in key roles for the production include Victoria Lamberth (director), Sara Hassinger and Lydia Congdon (stage mangers), Beth Norris (sound design) and dramaturg Carole Saich, whom Moor credits with providing important assistance for each writer with language and editing.

“We wrote with humor and with a woman’s eye for how the characters respond to their circumstances,” Moor says. “We hope to entertain and make folks of all ages laugh but also feel the vibe of the magic of watching theater under the stars. After a long pandemic, we are thrilled to present this evening to audiences.”

Montford Park Players is located at 92 Gay St. For more information and to reserve free tickets, visit

Playing with fire

Bender Gallery’s latest solo exhibition, One Day I Will Disappear, debuts Saturday, July 3, and spotlights paintings by Czech American artist Tom Pazderka, who earned a BFA from Western Carolina University. The works selected for his new show consist of oil, ash and charcoal paintings on burned panel and paper, featuring clouds, mountains, portraits, ephemera and remnants of nature.

According to a gallery press release, the paintings are “conceptually dark, yet haunting and beautiful at the same time.” Often using found objects that he burns, “[Pazderka] transforms the painting surface with the destructive, yet creative power of fire.”

Bender Gallery is located at 29 Biltmore Ave. The exhibition runs through Tuesday, Aug. 31, and is viewable Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sunday noon-5 p.m. There will be also be an opening reception for Pazderka on Saturday, July 3, 6-9 p.m., by RSVP only. To reserve a spot and learn more, visit

Craft pathways

July marks the second annual Blue Ridge Craft Trails Month in Henderson County, during which residents and visitors are encouraged to explore a trio of routes that unite local studios and galleries. The three trails are Touring the Heart of Hendersonville, Wandering Flat Rock and Finding Wonders in the Outskirts, which collectively include a total of 14 sites. Throughout the month, the venues will feature artist demonstrations, exhibit openings and other special events.

“When people come to our area, they have things in mind that we are known for, and one of those is handmade, one-of-a-kind crafts,” says Michelle Owens, executive director of the Henderson County Tourism Development Authority. “Craft Trails Month is a way to highlight these wonderful artisans, so visitors are able to find what they’re looking for.”

Most galleries keep regular hours, though some studios are open by appointment only. For more information, visit

Creek style

The 11th annual season of Concerts on the Creek begins Friday, July 2, at Sylva’s Bridge Park, 76 Railroad Ave., with Terri Lynn Queen, Scott Baker and Tim Queen playing classic rock hits, 7-9 p.m. Festivities continue on Sunday, July 4, with the All in One Band performing classic R&B, funk, rock and beach hits, 6-9:30 p.m., followed by fireworks.

The series rolls on each Friday through Sept. 3, and each event is free, with donations encouraged. Attendees are asked to bring their own chairs or blankets; all dogs must be on a leash; and coolers, smoking and alcohol are prohibited. Anyone who is not yet vaccinated for COVID-19 is asked to practice social distancing, proper hand sanitizing and preferably wear a mask. Vaccinated attendees are not required to wear a mask. For more information, visit

Printed word

The Sublime Theater & Press plans to return to the stage this fall, but in the meantime, the company is leaning into its “Press” side. Hardcover, paperback and e-book editions of My Crazy My Love by John Crutchfield, Washington Place by David Brendan Hopes and American Arcade by Steven Samuels are now available via such online bookstores as Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Bookshop. All three plays are written by Asheville-based authors with world premieres produced and directed by Samuels in local theaters. For more information, visit

Barns by Barnhill

The Appalachian Barn Alliance’s virtual tour of the Anderson Family Homeplace is available to view online. The guided look at the four architecturally distinct barns on the Mars Hill area farmstead is led by ABA researcher Taylor Barnhill, who weaves in stories and historical details across the hourlong video. To take the free tour, visit


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About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA). Follow me @EdwinArnaudin

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