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‘John Brown’s Body’ showing at St. Agnes

By Staff | Nov 13, 2009

The cast of “John Brown’s Body,” with Shepherdstown Director Joe Yates. Photo by James P. Whipple

The play “John Brown’s Body” will be performed at the St. Agnes Catholic Church in Shepherdstown the first week of November and will run throughout the month. The Harpers Ferry Foundation and the Town of Harpers Ferry produced this production for the 150th celebration of the raid at Harpers Ferry by John Brown.

Based on the epic poem “John Brown’s Body” by Stephen Vincent Bent, the Play is directed by Joe Yates, of Shepherdstown.

The assistant director is Maria Arrington. Included in the cast are Mark Adelsberger; Rosemarie Coy; Thom Huenger; Jeff Martin; Bonnie Myers; Taryn Wood; Joe Yates; and Joel Ziler.

Yates is again playing John Brown as well as directing the play. Yates feels that the feelings of those who lived through the dark years of 1859 are some how part of us today.

“As John Brown’s body lies a-mouldering in the grave, we, the audience of today, look back in time to experience the lives of a group of remarkable people who lived through our country’s greatest challenge, and who are looking forward, at us,” Joe Yates said. This very moving drama “John Brown’s Body” is a play adapted from the epic poem by Stephen Vincent Benet. In 1859 the great experiment, the great challenge that is the United States of America, is failing. In the play the great statues of history, Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee and John Brown, come to life. Ordinary people in the midst of extraordinary events; Jack Ellyat and Clay Wingate, one Blue one Grey; boys one day, soldiers the next. Sally Dupre and Mary Lou Wingate, the loves they left behind. Melora Villas and her father who are hiders, camp followers who have only each other. These and so many more remarkable people in this remarkable work, show us, the audience of today, who inherited the challenge that is the promise of this great nation, the courage and heart required to fulfill that promise.

“This play, it’s pretty unique in my experience. I would call it a collection of scenes that takes the audience through the period of the Civil War by revealing the lives of the people who lived through it,” Yates said.

The Play “John Brown’s Body” will then be performed at the St. Agnes Catholic Church located on Washington and Church Streets in Shepherdstown.

The Dates of the show are Nov. 5, 6, and 7, at 8 p.m.; 8th at 7 p.m. Nov 13 at 8 p.m.; 15th at 3 p.m. Nov. 19 and 20 at 8 p.m.; 22nd at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. (2 shows)

Ticket prices are $10 for all shows. For more information or to buy tickets call (304) 535-2030 or email www.HistoricHarpersFerry.com. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the venue church.