Catawba presents ‘The Last Journey of No. 6330’
Drawing on a cast of eight and a few puppets to create a world of characters, the Catawba College Theatre Arts Department brings to life “The Last Journey of No. 6330.” The production will be performed in Hedrick Little Theatre on campus at 6:55 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 15, at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 16-18, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 19.
A special free performance of the play will be offered at the Spencer Shops’ Roundhouse at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 25.
N.C. Transportation Museum Executive Director Elizabeth Smith relates that Catawba College’s performance follows the mission of the museum, “to educate the public on our rich transportation heritage.” Smith credits Catawba’s staff and faculty for “this innovative play developed and compiled from the oral histories, letters and journals of workers of the Southern Railway Company’s Spencer Shops.”
Professor David Pulliam directs “6330” with music direction by Jesse Hunter, who also composed songs for the show. It follows Southern Railway’s last steam locomotive on her final journey through Spence in 1953, and examines in story and song, the lives of local working people affected by the railroad.
Southern Railway was the first class I railroad in the U.S. to convert completely to diesel locomotives in 1953, leaving steam locomotives like No. 6330 behind as a remnant of a fleeting past. The last journey of No. 6330 marked the end of an era and the beginning of a new one where human ingenuity, science, business and politics led the country in a new direction.
Each cast member will play a folk instrument ó a banjo, a guitar, a devil stick, a harmonium and even a steel pipe. The music is the style sung by ordinary people before records, radio and television homogenized regional sounds into genres like “country” and “folk.” This is music from a time when everybody sang at home, in church and at work; when music was not a passive activity, but rather something everyone did in community.
Movement in the production will range from “gandy dancing,” the synchronized movement of the work gangs moving steel rails, to “assembly dances,” steps used by folks dancing for pleasure.
The performers bringing local history to life include junior Caitlin Becka; senior Aaron Ganas; sophomore Ryan Glidewell; sophomore Carrie Harris; junior Amber Hughes; senior Jesse Hunter; junior Yolanda McClure; and sophomore Kat Tierney.
The production staff for “The Last Journey of No. 6330” includes senior Patricia Adkins, stage manager; freshman Vaughn Pollman, assistant stage manager; senior Claire Alston, dramaturge; Pulliam, director/scenic design; Professor Christopher Zink, lighting design; senior Corey Burckhalter, costume design; senior Dan Koppenhaver, technical director; junior Carmen Bartlett, multimedia; freshmen Christine Caldemeyer, first hand; Miranda Smith, hair, make-up and mask design; junior Amanda Lederer, props master; sophomore Chris Herring, puppet master; and senior Christopher Young.
Tickets for “The Last Journey of No. 6330” are $10 for adults and $8 for senior citizens and non-Catawba students and group rates are available. Contact the Catawba College Theatre Box Office at 704-637-4481.