Flies at the Well

Newnan Theatre Company ventured into uncharted territory when it decided to commission a play about the 1948 murder and trial which had already spawned a book, a TV movie, and a song, all titled Murder in Coweta County.  We wanted a new, original work, with a fresh presentation of the events.

 Playwright W. Jeff Bishop accepting the commission from Caroline Abbey and Dave Dorrell.

Playwright W. Jeff Bishop accepting the commission from Caroline Abbey and Dave Dorrell.

The result is Flies at the Well, a play with music written by local author and historian, W. Jeff Bishop.  The process involved tremendous research and creative juices.  We discovered that developing a play is like making sausage.  You might not want to know what went into it…

NTC worked with the playwright in two local readings, so that Jeff could get a better feel for it, like a composer hearing his work performed.   Various friends and theatre folks acted as “dramaturges” to help shape the play.  A staged reading was then arranged out of town in Jackson, MI, by an enthusiastic troupe, furthering the development of the script.

Flies at the Well: The Trial of the Killer John Wallace is now officially in production. The cast has been selected, and director Jennifer Dorrell and Newnan Theatre Company have begun rehearsals. Performance dates are April 1– 3, 2016, at the Wadsworth Auditorium in Newnan.

This eagerly anticipated play tells the story of John Wallace, a wealthy landowner who ran a farm and moonshine business in Meriwether County during the 1940s. He was apprehended by Sheriff Lamar Potts for murdering one of his tenant farmers in Moreland. The incident was made into a book, Murder in Coweta County, by Margaret Anne Barnes (1976) and later, in 1983, into a television movie starring Andy Griffith as Wallace and Johnny Cash as Potts.

Flies at the Well is based on the same series of events but is a new interpretation that includes musical elements, most notably "Sacred Harp" or "shape note" music written in the nineteenth century in Newnan.

Major funding for this project has been courtesy of the CharterBank’s Foundation.  You may become a supporter yourself by donating here.

For more information or to support this endeavor, contact Caroline Abbey at ctabbey@charter.net or Newnan Theatre by calling 770.683.6282.

 

Flies at the Well has received support from the following:

 Charter Bank

Charter Bank

 Newnan Cultural Arts Commission

Newnan Cultural Arts Commission

 Newnan-Coweta Historical Society

Newnan-Coweta Historical Society

 Newnan Utilities

Newnan Utilities

 Coweta Community Foundation

Coweta Community Foundation

 Main Street

Main Street