On the performance April 10, 2010

The Spirited April evening was lowering its lamp on the spent day as my bride kept stride with my crude crutch shuffle. Colleen Jackson, Executive Director of the Batesville Area Arts Council, met us in the Lobby of Holloway Theatre with a warm greeting, a needed hug, and the perfect beginning to what was a lovely evening. We anxiously entered the theatre for some expected entertainment. What was not expected, was the brilliant and captivatingly raw walk Down In Littletown, hand held by the brutally honest guide, hostage, and son of this American small town, W. Clayton Scott. What was probably a two hour journey into the tumultuous and grit filled life of Caliber, past resident of Little Town, felt more like a five minute conversation with an old friend that you wish could tarry longer and not have to go home. And although you relent, forbidding yourself to whine and moan and beg, you are left wanting with an energy undecided on where it should be spent.

The one-man cast of this play comes across as a ten-character crew, with his emotional and hilarious conversations unfolding via rotary telephone. His animated recollections of his late grandmother and the memories he unfolds by way of captivating poetry further draw the audience member into the illusion of the night. Caliber is faced with the daunting task of opening an envelope containing the last wishes of his recently departed grandfather. His older brother, sister in-law and all of Little Town are anxious for the knowledge of which grandson was left the old home place, but none more than Caliber himself. As the evening progresses you are drawn into the emotional whirlwind of Caliber’s broken marriage, “cats in the cradle” relationship with his own son and his not so happy childhood and awkward adolescence from which he ran thirty-eight long years ago. Not even the death of his father, mother or grandmother held the power to bring him back home. As the evening marches steady onward and Caliber’s voice is thickened with the slur of Wild Turkey, tears and regret our host finds his answer not only within the contents of the envelope left by his beloved grandfather but in the far reaches of dial tone filled, one sided conversation with his deceased father.

Down in Littletown is brilliant story telling in a comfortable southern dialect typing its way across your mind with the click and ‘ding’ of an old gray typewriter. Moon Vines open on this black and white photo album of yesterday and today, washing you over with the scent of rain on the air. Audibly stunning, Mr. Scott kidnaps your senses with a caliber of virtue and the dirty essence of life lived. I would like to thank the Gods of literary perfection for my time spent in Littletown, for I was astounded, relieved, and moved by the words and emotion of W. Clayton Scott. It was an honor to shake his hand and palaver with him afterwards, where he offered everyone a piece of his Coconut Crème Pie (a prop for the show), and suggested that every performance after become a BYOF (Bring Your Own Fork).

Do yourself a favor and attend this beautiful play when next it graces our honorable and honored Holloway Theatre. I pray that you find the moment that was afforded me.

The lighting and sound technicians were Luke Drive and Spencer Hall, and the stage manager was Jody Hughes. This Arts On Tour program was brought to you by the Batesville Area Arts Council, the Arkansas Arts Council, which is an agency of the Arkansas Department of Heritage and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional sponsorship provided by Future Fuel Chemical Co. and First Southern Bank…with a special thanks to Lyon College, Carlee’s Hallmark, Citizens Bank, Batesville Printing, WRD Entertainment, First Community Bank, the Batesville Daily Guard, Suddenlink Communications, and area media. – Joseph Thomas