September, 2006

What: Two from the Twilight Zone
Where: Hamner Theater, 190 Rockfish School Road, Afton
When: September 13-24 Wed-Sat. at 7:30pm; Sun. at 2pm
How much: $10, Children 12 and under- $5
Contact: 434-361-1999

Two Tales from the Twilight Zone at Hamner Theater

One of the most influential television series of all time, THE TWILIGHT ZONE, provides the inspiration for the latest round of plays at the Earl Hamner, Jr. Theater in Nelson County. Peter Coy and Boomie Pedersen, co-artistic directors of the Hamner Theater direct “Jess-Belle” and “The Bewitchin’ Pool” both of which Coy adapted for the stage from TWILIGHT ZONE teleplays written by Earl Hamner, creator of the long running family show THE WALTON’S. Hamner actually got his start in television with THE TWILIGHT ZONE writing eight episodes, which place him fourth on the list of contributing writers behind Rod Serling, Charles Beaumont and Richard Matheson.

Hamner attributes his start in television to Serling whom he met in 1949 when each were winners of the Dr. Christian radio-writing contest. After moving west in 1962, Hamner sent two teleplays to Serling who encouraged Hamner to continue submitting scripts. Hamner, who was raised on the folk tales and songs of his native Virginia, wrote several TWILIGHT episodes with a “homespun” quality. Among these is “Jess-Belle,” a story of love and witchcraft set in rural Appalachia. “The Bewitchin’ Pool” is one of Hamner’s favorite episodes. It examines the affects of divorce on the children of an urban family who find refuge in the backyard pool.

Coy, Pedersen and the actors have imaginatively re-created the feeling of THE TWILIGHT ZONE on stage. “Jess-Belle” featured a cougar on television and “The Bewitchin’ Pool” a swimming pool. Solving these problems of staging has been the particular challenge of this production and makes the plays fun to watch.

The plays run September 13-24 (Wed.-Sat. at 7:30pm; sun. at 2pm) at the Hamner Theater in Nelson County. Admission is $10 ($5 for children 12 and under). For more information, directions, and to make reservations call the Hamner Theater at 434-361-1999 or visit www.hamnertheater.com.