Oct 4 – Nov 10
Barter Stage II
“Winner of Barter’s 2018 Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights.”
Recommended for mature audience due to language and subject matter
By Alice Stanley
In the midst of the first gruesomely violent event of the legendary Hatfield and McCoy feud, one woman does what she must to save her family. Sally McCoy tells a harrowing and deeply personal story which takes a hard look at how women’s stories and perspectives are too often excluded from our historical narratives. Set in August 1882, Sally’s three eldest sons are captured by the Hatfield clan. Sally defies her womanly place in the home and crosses miles of Appalachian wilderness in the dark of night to save her children from certain death at the vengeful hands of the Hatfields. After traveling all those miles alone, she arrives at the home of the Hatfield patriarch, “Devil” Anse Hatfield, and refuses to let anything stand in her way until she has seen the “Devil” face to face.
October 6th: 4 Hatfield/McCoy family members, the director, and some of the cast
October 12th: Neil Warren (historian), the director, and some of the cast
October 26-28th: Alice Stanley (the playwright) and some of the cast
We all know something or other about the epic feud between the Hatfields and McCoys. It is the stuff of American legend- a tribal tale of bloody vengeance that endured for the last 30 years of the 19th century. Maybe this particular feud sticks in the American psyche because it has all the elements of Shakespearean tragedy: family honor, betrayal, bloodlust, star-crossed lovers, and of course, a stolen pig. It was not nearly the bloodiest feud taking place in our young country at the time, but it would capture the imagination of historians and laymen alike, earning the Tug Fork River region the nickname “Murderland”.Ultimately, these two families believed in their own clan, no matter what, kinfolk above all else. And we need only watch five minutes of the evening news to see that this same mentality burns brightly, even today.
Our play is set smack dab in the middle of these violent times, as Sally is surrounded by quick tempered men armed with guns, knives, and their blind hatred of “others” that colored every moment of her life. It does not dwell on big sweeping thoughts of social order, nor the decades of infighting that lead up to this dark night. Rather, it concerns itself with strength and fortitude, the incomparable bond, and resolute convictions of a mother’s love. At a time when wives and daughters were the slaves of the poorest families, who could expect such a woman to be brave? And who would allow her to speak her mind?
Family was on Sally McCoy’s mind one night in 1882, as she made her way through the dark and treacherous woods to the old Hatfield home. Family. Her boys. Her everything. It would take epic courage to make this journey, to tiptoe across that threshold, to open her mouth, use her voice, and show her hand. Our Sally is a heroine ahead of her time, speaking truth to power; the consequences be damned.
Director, Sally McCoy
Cast & Credits
Sally McCoy: Tricia Matthews
Devil Anse Hatfield: Michael Poisson
Valentine Hatfield, Anse’s Brother: Nicholas Piper
Johnse Hatfield, Anse’s Son: Shaan Sharma
Cap Hatfield, Anse’s Son: Rusty Allen
Rehearsal AssistantStage Manager: Victoria L. Sutton
Director: Susanne Boulle
Set Designer: Derek Smith
Original Music: Matt Martin
Costume Designer: Lee Martin
Lighting Designer: Camille Davis
Sound Designer: Tony Angelini
Scenic Designer: Kevin Dudley
Wig and Makeup Designer: Whitney Kaibel
Props Master: Helen Stratakes
Stage Manager: Sara Douglas
Farris Service Group