Some local artists have create an original one man operetta, and they’re taking their show on the road beginning this month.
Performer Willi Carlisle has written and will star in the show, titled There Aint No More: Death of a Folksinger, and he and director Joseph Fletcher are set to kick off a twelve city tour of fringe festivals starting with a local performance on April 13 at Backspace.
The two artists began working on the show about six months ago, but it includes over five years of material developed by Carlisle, including songs, square-dance calls, poems, fiddle tunes, and field-recordings from his notebooks.
Carlisle approached Fletcher, whose credits include local productions including Artist Laboratory Theatre’s Alley 38 and China the Whole Enchilada in New York, to help direct and produce the show.
The play takes place during the folksinger’s last performance. Facing the life he has led and the legacy he will leave behind, the medication-addled musician uses every trick he knows to confront lost love, the experience of war, years of political activism, adventures into the American wilderness, and gig after gig spent in folk-music obscurity.
“It’s a show about American history all in all,” Carlisle said. “But it has through that a bunch of folk songs, dirty jokes, puppets, banjo songs. I mean, we really threw the kitchen sink at this one.”
Four local performances are scheduled, on April 13 at Backspace, April 21 at the Walker Stone House, April 30 at Black Apple Crossing, and on May 5 at Artist Laboratory Theatre before the fringe festival tour begins this summer. Carlisle and Fletcher will then travel to twelve cities across the country with their new show after that, performing at festivals from Tampa, Florida up to Portland, Maine and several cities in between.
Tickets to the local performance are $10, and the proceeds will help the artists fund their summer tour. Carlisle and Fletcher are also accepting contributions via GoFundMe.
Local performances of “There Ain’t No More: Death of a Songwriter
April 13 – Preview Show: Backspace, 8 p.m.
April 21 – Preview Show: Walker-Stone House, 8 p.m.
April 30 – Preview Show: Black Apple Crossing, 8 p.m.
May 5 – Preview Show: Artist Laboratory Theatre, 8 p.m.