"Maytle's World": History, Poetry, & Performance by the NC Poet Laureate
The North Carolina Poet Laureate has written a play-of course, this play began as a collection of poems.
Local playwright Anne Russell encouraged Shelby Stephenson and provided assistance in reshaping his poetry about growing up in rural Johnston county into text ready for performance. Maytle's World was just published in March.
Meet NC Poet Laureate & playwright Shelby Stephenson on opening night: Wednesday, July 8, 5:30-6:30.
Big Dawg Productions is a friend to historical theatre and local writers, so they worked out a way to premier this work even though their playhouse was booked. While Big Dawg is directing the show, they are partnering with Cameron Art Museum for the production.
Stephenson is an award-winning poet with over a dozen published books. Former Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti said he is truly the "voice of North Carolina," while UNC Professor and poet Paul Jones said "there could be no one more representative of North Carolina" than Shelby Stephenson.
In this interview, we spoke with Stephenson and the director of the play, Steve Coley, plus actor Deb Bowen playing the part of Maytle. Stephenson interprets the play as partly literal and partly evocative, lyrically expressing himself, his brother, and his parents (Maytle is his mother) to capture a time in North Carolina history-and now through the interpretation of the performers (including Steve Coley, Deb Bowen, Lee Lowrimore, and Steve Rassin).
See Maytle's World at the Cameron Art Museum Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday (July 8, 9, & 12) this week and Wednesday (July 15) next week. Weekday performances are at 7:00 pm; Sunday at 3:00 pm. Tickets available online at Cameron Art Museum, by phone at 910-395-5999, or at the door. For opening night on Wednesday, July 8, the CAM is hosting a reception for Shelby Stephenson from 5:30-6:30.