by Emmy Walters
On Saturday, September 28, Sewanee’s senior theater majors presented “Abbo’s Alley Anecdotes”: a theatrical collage of historical anecdotes in and about Sewanee’s popular ravine gardens. For their senior project, Oliver Crawford, Andy Philpo, Hyatt Pyle, Beckett Scott, Cody Snead, Sarah Weldon, and Pagie Wilson created and participated in two free performances at 10 and 11:30 a.m.
As the seniors embarked on this project, they discovered intriguing stories, folklore, and fairytales about Sewanee’s history in the University’s archives. The group chose characters to study and portray, and were thus able to adapt narratives into engaging scenes throughout Abbo’s Alley. “The idea came about from the seniors wanting to have a project that brought us out of the space we are so used to working in,” said Scott. “We wanted to use the hiking trails around Sewanee as a tour where scenes come alive around you.”
The theatrical tour guided viewers through scenes in Abbo’s Alley with Sewanee’s very own Professor Abbot Cotten Martin (played by Derek Williams) as their tour guide. Other historical and folklore characters included Bishop Polk (played by Crawford), President Davis (played by Pyle), John Wilkes Booth (played by Aaron Browning), Louisa Price Payne (played by Wilson), the Witch of Shakerag Hollow (played by Snead), an adventurous young girl (played by Weldon), and a German prisoner of war (played by Huntre Woolwine). Snead, Philpo, and Scott directed the scenes.
In describing the process of undertaking this theatrical tour, Scott remarked, “The most rewarding part of this project was producing something that was completely written and directed by senior theatre majors, with some guest acting from different years and majors in Abbo’s Alley (a very different space to work in from the theater) in about a month.”