Actress will bring Christmas to life at library

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 2, 2011

By Suzanne White
Rowan Public Library
The Rowan Public Library Foundation presents A Literary Feast to benefit the foundation and its support of outstanding community library services.
The evening begins with a reception and is followed with a festive dinner and a special literary program, “Deck the Halls with Southern Writers,” presented by actress Barbara Bates Smith and musician Jeff Sebens. This event takes place Friday, Dec. 9, from 5:30-9 p.m. at the Rowan Museum and requires advance reserved seating.
In the program for the evening, Smith humorously explores the true meaning of Christmas with some of the South’s finest literature. From Lee Smith’s “Fair and Tender Ladies,” the program features the fireside storytelling tradition of Old Christmas in the mountains, when the ladysisters tell “Ole Dry Fry.”
Sebens provides hammered dulcimer musical accompaniment. The program also features excerpts from Allan Gurganus’ “Oldest Living Confederate Widow” telling of “The Christmas Spectacle” when many a teetotaling Baptist got knee-walking drunk — accidentally, and the pageant turned more poignant than ever.
Truman Capote’s “Christmas Memory” issues a heart-warming invitation to “Imagine a morning in late November in a country town in Alabama.” His 60-something cousin exclaims, “Oh my, Buddy, it’s fruitcake weather!”
Smith is noted for her adaptation and Off-Broadway performance of Ivy Rowe from Lee Smith’s “Fair and Tender Ladies,” a show in its 21st year of touring. A Southeastern Theatre Best Actress award winner, Smith has recently played featured roles in regional productions of “Wit,” “Hamlet” and “Doubt.”
For nearly 30 years, Sebens has been handcrafting a variety of stringed instruments, including lap dulcimers, hammered dulcimers, mandolins and guitars. Sebens works out of his home workshop and travels, performing and teaching.
Reservations are required. Individual reservations are $75 per person, and there are also opportunities for table and event sponsorships. For reservations and additional information about this very special evening, please call Pam Nance at 704-216-8231.