Each fall, remember to watch for the No Ordinary Person celebration of storytelling at RAAC’s theater in Little Washington. These talks are one of RAAC’s longest running and most popular events. For the past twenty years, Rappahannock residents have stepped on stage to tell personal stories from their own lives. Some stories are funny, some are sad or introspective or self-revealing, but all demonstrate the wisdom of Studs Terkel’s observation that there is no such thing as an “ordinary” person.
There will be two performances. Tickets go fast! Watch for when they go on sale in September.
This year’s No Ordinary Person marks the 20th anniversary of the perennially popular show devoted to true tales from Rappahannock storytellers. The program comes to the RAAC Community Theatre on Friday, Oct 5 and Saturday, October 6 (8 pm).
The performance features five Rappahannock residents telling four stories – one story is a joint affair! The storytellers are Bud Meyer, a newspaper executive and novelist; Joyce Wenger, who spent a career in technology and research; Jim Northup, a park ranger and superintendent for three decades; and Mike Sands and Betsy Dietel, whose areas of expertise stretch from farming to philanthropy.
The stories cover a wide range, both geographically and emotionally. We venture from Hannibal, Missouri, smack in the heartland of America, to South Korea to the desert corners of the southwest, and we confront strangers as formidable as hard-eyed Mexican federales and as frightening, in a different way, as a large, loud, enthusiastic mother-in-law-to-be clad only in a towel and a diamond ring.
Joyce Wenger takes us on a journey through the markets and bathhouses of South Korea as seen through Western eyes. She was young and adventurous and, or so she thought, savvy when it came to navigating new cultures.
Jim Northup looks back at his long career as a park ranger, with a focus on days when things went bad in a very big way. The life of a ranger sometimes involves communing with nature and gazing at the scenery. But rarely. Jim’s stories deal with murder on the Rio Grande and gigantic fires burning in Shenandoah National Park.
Bud Meyer grew up in a big family, where everyone was an athlete and a lifeguard and the most glamorous, most envied figure at the prom. Everyone, that is, except one member of the family.
Mike Sands and Betsy Dietel have been married a long while. But now – in a two-part story where we hear both sides of a rollicking tale – they venture back to their courting days, when Betsy first encountered Mike’s mother, a whirlwind in human form.
No Ordinary Person is directed by Sallie Morgan, Lynn and Ed Dolnick, and Dick Raines, with special input from director emeritus Joyce Abell. All five story-tellers will appear both nights.