Our Town, Waynesville style

Get ready for a production of Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Our Town,” the likes of which you’ve never imagined — or discussed.

“It’s going to be an experience, I’ll tell you,” predicts Dr. David Guerin, who will both direct and play a key role in the play.

But Guerin’s production of Wilder’s 1938 drama will serve mainly as a vehicle for discussion afterward, on the possible relationships between the fictional Grover’s Corners and Waynesville.

Guerin hopes that themes from the play — such as history, culture and common problems — and even specific lines will spark discussion.

To help get viewers thinking, some real-life local functionaries will play their stage counterparts (Waynesville Chief of Police Frank Ross, for example, will play the constable); sketches and postcards of historic Waynesville will hang on the walls; and a locally composed song, “Waynesville,” will be premiered.

“It’s a good song,” says Guerin, who plans to have the lyrics printed on the back of the program.

“I’m just doing everything I can think of to make the play come alive,” he observes.

The first half of “Our Town” will be presented as reader’s theater. (Guerin suggests closing your eyes and pretending you’re listening to the radio). But the players will actually perform the second half, including the wedding and graveyard scenes.

For Guerin, however, the high point of the evening may well prove to be the discussion afterward, inspired by the play’s universal message. “When you get down to the real guts, humanity is humanity,” he says. No matter where you are, “People are people,” and “We’re all part of the same big scene.”

Show time is 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 30 and 31, and 3 p.m. on Feb. 1 at the Studio Theatre (located in the Haywood Arts Repertory Theatre’s new playhouse) in Waynesville. Tickets cost $5, seating is limited, and reservations are recommended. “I’ve got a funny feeling it’s going to sell out every night,” Guerin predicts.

Call HART at 456-6322 to learn more.

Let’s get growing

Got ideas about the design of Asheville’s new edible park? City Seeds — a nonprofit organization that, through its Bountiful Cities project, will soon begin planting the city’s first edible forest ecosystem and public park — wants input on the park’s design. Accordingly, a “design charette” will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 31 at the City Building in downtown Asheville.

Planning to attend? Need more info? Call City Seeds at 236-2299.

Youth groups granted

Eight Buncombe County youth groups have each received a $450 grant from the Youth Leadership and Service Initiative, to support service projects that encourage teamwork, leadership and problem-solving skills.

• Cub Scout Pack 73 in Arden will build an arboretum and amphitheater at Glen Arden School.

• Asheville Catholic School seventh and eighth graders will create a native flower garden and composting facility at their school.

• The History on Tape (aka HOT) club at Charles D. Owen High School will create a video documentary about the history of the railroad in Black Mountain.

• Young women in the SOAR/YWCA Pursuit Program in Asheville will use their grant to support Women Against Violence – Sing Out!, an education program that seeks to boost awareness of violence against women.

Other projects include building a butterfly garden, researching and recording the lives of some elderly Buncombe residents, expanding the children’s library at Mission Hospital, and promoting an anti-smoking campaign.

The YLSI is a program of Western North Carolina Tomorrow, a nonprofit citizen-leadership organization that addresses issues affecting the mountain region. YLSI awarded 33 grants to youth groups in 17 western North Carolina counties this year. This summer, nine of the groups will receive an additional $450 to expand or extend their projects.

To learn more about WNCT or the YLSI, call Mitchell Williams at 227-7492, or (800) 621-0008.

FEMA funding

The following programs are available, “as needed and warranted,” under the major disaster declaration that President Bill Clinton issued for North Carolina on Jan. 15, according to a press release from the Federal Emergency Management Agency:

• Rental payments for temporary housing.

• Grants for housing repairs not covered by insurance.

• Grants of about $2,500 to help meet medical, funeral, transportation and other disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other programs.

• Up to 26 weeks of unemployment payments for people out of work because of the flooding.

Low-interest loans may also be available to cover damages to residences and businesses, as well as to assist farmers, ranchers and aquaculture operators.

For more info, call (800) 462-9029 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week. Those with speech or hearing impairments should call (800) 462-7585. Have insurance info ready.

Other people’s money

Help the United Way give away millions of dollars to nonprofits by volunteering to serve on a panel that will hear funding requests from health and human-service agencies.

The United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County needs about 250 local, conscientious volunteers willing to spend five to 10 hours between March and early May hearing requests, taking agency tours, and then deciding who should get what.

“Those who contributed to United Way’s recent $4.9 million campaign may be especially interested, for this is their opportunity to help decide exactly where the money goes,” advises United Way CEO and President George J. Pfeiffer.

Want to give away millions? Call the United Way at 255-0696 by Jan. 31 (ask for Robin).

Get right with 911

Buncombe County residents who wish to make sure that Emergency Services has their names and addresses on record correctly should call 911, anytime until Jan. 30.

When you dial 911, your name and address will come up on the Emergency Services computers, so that county personnel can review them with you.

Calling in during the few days after Jan. 30 will be OK, too, said a county Emergency Services employee.

Class for dads

The Family Services Center is offering a Nurturing Fathers program designed to address the challenges and opportunities of being a father.

The classes will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays through April 21, at the First Presbyterian Church, 40 Church St. in Asheville.

The program will help dads learn new and effective ways to interact with their kids and parenting partners. A second cycle of classes all begin on June 2, and a third cycle on Sept. 15.

The program costs $75, and scholarships are available.

To learn more, call Jared Massanari of the Family Services Center at 253-9314.

Apply now

Want to strut your artsy/craftsy stuff? The application deadline for a slot in the inaugural Black Mountain Arts and Crafts Show is Feb. 15.

The show will be held May 2 and 3 and will feature top-notch arts and crafts, as well as a stage for performers, organizers say.

Call the Black Mountain Chamber of Commerce at (800) 230-1669 for an application.

A high-flying contest

Attention youngsters: What flies?

Don’t say your answer — draw it, and you could win the Air Sports in the Olympics poster contest. Submit a top drawing of any sporting or recreational flying activity — from ballooning to skydiving — and you just might advance from the state level to the nationals.

The contest is open to kids ages 6 to 17, and will be judged in different age groups. The deadline is Feb. 6. The N.C. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration are jointly sponsoring the contest.

Want more info? Call (919) 840-0112.

— successfully compiled by Jill Ingram

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