Did Rural Academy Theatre troupe go vroom vroom?

My friend in Marshall told me of the Rural Academy Theatre performing in Marshall, and although it was nightfall and hard to see, she still recommended it! So it was with interest I read that about this troupe in Mountain Xpress (see “Horseplay,” Oct. 9 Xpress).

I tossed around the idea of trying to see their performance at UNC Asheville with my 4-year-old grandson, [but] alas, I had too much work to do so I headed back home around 6 p.m. on River Road. Right in my little community of Alexander, I see this big, odd-looking travel bus headed toward town, towing what looked like the wagon of this troupe!

It may not have been them, but it sure looked like the wagon. It was a most lovely fall day, so I don't know where the horses were or why they weren't using their renaissance pace. Were they on the bus?

What happened to the philosophy expressed in the article, which gave me images of a slower, simpler life and a wonderful entertainment form that goes back centuries? In the article, troupe co-founder Gabriel Harrell suggested people hoof it to their shows, or bicycle. But their shows seem to happen at dusk. So if they had stopped at our little old French Broad High School converted to artist studios, I could have walked to it. However, coming home in the dark (possibly with children), sharing the road with cars speeding at 45 mph, is not a very safe proposition.

Harrell’s response: Xpress contacted theatre co-director Gabriel Harrell, who’s still on the road, to share this letter writer’s concerns. He said he was grateful for Amastar’s letter, and suggested that this may well have been a case of mistaken identity, as the only time his troupe was motorized in the Asheville area, it briefly used a truck — not a bus — to tow the wagon while the horses were being shuttled through a traffic-heavy stretch of road.

— Troy AmastarAlexander

— 337-0441


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One thought on “Did Rural Academy Theatre troupe go vroom vroom?

  1. nicola

    Troy AmastarAlexander: your sentiments are shared by us at the Rural Academy Theater–we wish we could travel completely without use of motors and a fast pace. while traveling so slowly on bicycle & horse, i have found myself working & thinking more deliberately and i find my interactions with other humans (& animals!) more genuine. going about life at a slower pace is indeed a simpler, calmer way to live; however, the river is moving faster than ever around us and, as you know, the dangers of the road are unavoidable. as romantic as our horse-drawn travels may seem, they are often fraught with anxiety and worry due to the dangerous vehicles that whiz past at deadly speeds, too often with drivers looking at their phones. while on our tour, we have on a few occasions sadly had to use the assistance of a vehicle to navigate the overwhelming sections of the urban environment.

    thank you for your letter and your thoughts. the best we can all do is encourage each other to begin to live more slowly & thoughtfully and imagine the kind of world that will foster this. we are in control.

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