A community’s stories need to be told.
That was the whole purpose when the Brundidge Historical Society began collecting stories for the original folklife play “Come Home, It’s Suppertime.” There are stories of the beauty parlor. There are stories of going to church. There are stories from the practice of sitting up with the dead.
“If we don’t tell the stories, they’ll be lost,” said Jaine Treadwell, a longtime member of the Brundidge Historical Society. “… This is your community’s history, this is your family history — these stories we tell around the supper table.”
Now in its 18th year, the fall season of “Come Home, It’s Suppertime” will include performances Nov. 7-9 and Nov. 14-16, complete with live pre-show music and a country supper. Performances are in the We Piddle Around Theater in downtown Brundidge.
The two-act play, which was designated Alabama’s Official Folklife Play several years ago, is a series of skits based on stories told by local residents. It’s staged in what once served as the Brundidge city hall, fire station and jail. Art work lines the walls of the theater and the audience sits around communal tables, eating supper as the stage play unfolds on a main stage and a smaller corner stage. “Come Home, It’s Suppertime” is performed in the spring and fall.
The historical society estimates that more than 23,000 people have seen the play.
While not a comedy, there is plenty of humor in the stories. There are some themes and jokes that might not be appropriate for children — mostly because children might not understand them rather than because anything is explicit. The play changes somewhat from season to season as characters and scenes are changed to incorporate different stories.
“We have tried to stay as close to the original script as we can because the stories that we use are original,” Treadwell said.
And while the core audience is still older, Treadwell said more young people are coming to see the play out of curiosity for the “old times and old ways.” It’s akin to listening to a grandparent tell stories, Treadwell said.
“It’s just fun,” she said. “We’ve had a real good time and it’s been good for our community. We don’t have anybody in there who has had any acting experience … it seems real.”
Even the food served during the evening is intended to be a nod to simpler times. Catered by the Pig Café, the menu features fried chicken, peas, sweet potatoes, turnips, corn bread and dessert.
“If you go to your grandmomma’s on Sunday, that’s what you probably would have had,” Treadwell said.