Can a young boy from the Alabama swamps muster the wit and courage to overcome his personal demon? Find out in the North Carolina Theatre for Young People’s (NCTYP) latest production, “Wiley and the Hairy Man.”
“Wiley,” a touring production, plays at Taylor Theatre March 16-21.
The story, set in the Depression-era South – a grim reflection of the current economic downturn – grew out of a folk tale recorded for the Federal Writer’s Project of the Works Progress Administration. Wiley, who lives deep in the Tombigbee Swamp of Alabama with his loving “conjure-woman” mother and faithful hound dog, is haunted by the Hairy Man. The devilish Hairy Man is out to “git” Wiley just as he did his father, and the only way for Wiley to save himself is to face his fears head-on.
The idea of the Hairy Man originated in Africa, in stories of ogres with matted hair called Amazimu who prey on children. The Hairy Man is an American confabulation – part European devil, part Amazimu, and part conjure-doctor. Another version of the story has a “widder woman” in the woods, not a boy in the swamp, being threatened by the Hairy Man.
Playwright Barry Kornhauser wrote the stage adaptation. Charlie DelMarcelle composed the music for the original production.
NCTYP is based at UNCG. Established in 1962, NCTYP stages productions at schools, churches and community centers across the region.
Matinee performances for school groups run in Taylor Theatre from Wednesday, March 17-Friday, March 19. Showtimes are 9:30 a.m. each day. Educators can sign up for performances online by visiting http://nctyp.uncg.edu/wsm.php.
Public performances in Taylor Theatre will run at 7 p.m. Friday, March 19, and at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 20, and Sunday, March 21.
Tickets are $15 for adults; $12 for senior citizens, students and children; $7 for UNCG students; and $9 for members of the UNCG Alumni Association. Call 4-4849 or visit http://boxoffice.uncg.edu to purchase tickets.