Based on a short story she penned years earlier, Dr. Nancy Mason, assistant professor of Spanish at DSC, wrote the play.
“I wrote ‘Muscadine Wine’ after hearing about an adventure three friends of mine had when they were journalism students at the University of Mississippi,” Mason said. “They visited a local writer in the Oxford area who lived in a house in the woods. While there, the cordial gentleman invited them to sample some of his homemade Muscadine wine.”
“Anyone who lives in Mississippi knows that the state claims many ghosts,” she continued. “The Delta has a lot of history, and it’s easy to imagine the ghosts of the past coming to terms with the people of the present.”
The play is set near historical Vicksburg, Miss., site of a bloody Civil War battle “but it’s about more than history,” Mason says, explaining the complicated relationship between characters.
“The name of the mansion, ‘le Fleuve du Nuit,’ means ‘River of Night’ and emphasizes the dark side of the Civil War,” she said. “It also represents hope, since the river continues flowing and may bring renewal to a place that has been downtrodden and all but forgotten.”
For director Jackie Daniels, the opportunity to work side-by-side with the playwright is a rare privilege.
“It is rewarding and enlightening to have the playwright observe the rehearsals,” Daniels said. “Dr. Mason has a good sense of theatre and is available to students who want to talk about their characters.”
“She keeps us on track; there is no chance of misinterpreting the play,” she said. “I am deeply grateful and appreciative of her involvement.”
Daniels, assistant professor of communications and theatre at Dalton State, explained that the decision to produce an original script extended from her involvement with the Creative Arts Guild and her desire to support local artists.
“What better way to be supportive of local playwrights than to offer them an opportunity to see their work staged?” she said.
“Muscadine Wine” was selected by a reading committee comprised of faculty from Dalton State’s Department of Humanities. Daniels, accompanied by faculty colleagues Marsha Mathews, Jonathan Lampley, Janice Bolding, Jane Taylor and Jennifer Randall, chose the Southern melodrama from the original scripts submitted.
Seventeen Dalton State students will be featured in the original production, among them are Diana Rodriguez, Kayla Brogdon, Wes Whiddon, Brandon Kountz, Amanda Voyles, Kristi Byrd, David Moss, Sean Self, Nickki Byrd, Scott Reese, Josh Beard, Josh Boling, Manuel Montelongo, Karina Paniagua Molina, Lakota Griffis, Alyssa Stromley and Sheraton Wallace.
“Muscadine Wine” will be performed in Goodroe Auditorium of Gignilliat Memorial Hall at 7 p.m. Nov. 15-17 and also at 2 p.m. on Nov. 17. The play is free to Dalton State students, faculty and staff; others pay $5.