A celebration of Appalachian storytelling, music and drama, The Liar’s Bench will hit the stage at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 20, in the Mountain Heritage Center at Western Carolina University.
Storyteller Gary Carden will begin the program with his opening monologue, followed by singer and instrumentalist Paul Iarussi and Cherokee storyteller Lloyd Arneach. Carden will then present a preview of his new play, “Tuckasegee Rising.” The staged reading, which expands upon the material presented at the Mountain Heritage Center last June, will feature narrator Tom DeWeese, as well as Newt Smith in the role of the Pied Piper, with additional commentary by Carden and Dave Waldrop.
This dramatic work-in-progress owes its origin to the historical account of the drowning of 19 African-American chain-gang laborers in the Tuckasegee River on December 30, 1882. The event took place while they were working on the Cowee Tunnel, a vital component of the newly constructed Western Carolina Railroad, which marked the 19th century onset of industrial development in the Appalachian region.