As a boy, Darren Michael often heard strange stories about the town of Smackover, Arkansas. He had family still living in that small community, and they talked about how an oil boom in the 1920s and 1930s brought in thousands of fortune-seekers from across the county. When the oil wells dried up, most of the new residents moved away, leaving the town in shambles.
The old stories of corruption and greed fascinated Michael, an Austin Peay State University associate professor of theatre, inspiring him to write his new full-length play, “Scarecrows Will Never See the Sunset: The Legends of Smackover.” Playhouse Nashville will present the work at 7:30 p.m., Aug. 16-24, with no performance on Aug. 18, at the Street Theatre Company at 1933 Elm Hill Pike in Nashville.
Michael has spent the last few months revising and tightening his play. The Playhouse Nashville performance is a continuation of this workshop process, allowing him to see what works in front of a live audience.
“As a playwright, you always love to have really great actors speaking your words,” he said in a recent Tennessean article. “It’s great to say, ‘Hey, they worked,’ or to have those actors find things in the lines you never could. Even though this is being workshopped, it will be a full production at the end. We have worked hard to shape the play, taking it from 170 pages to 110, distilling it down to an exciting drama.”
Reserved tickets are $20. On Aug. 20, admission is only $10 for students with a valid ID. For more information on the play or to purchase tickets, contact Playhouse Nashville at www.playhousenashville.com or 615-669-5792.