Happiness is… going to the Theater

The Bard once wrote, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.


Maybe it stems from the many resounding thespian successes I experienced as a child, such as the lead shepherd in our church play, or perhaps my most acclaimed role of The Black Toad, in “The Night of the Black Toad”, but as an adult, I love the theater.  I know that coming out of the closet and admitting that I love the theater, including opera, may cost me my Bubba Red Neck of Southwest Virginia membership, but I do.  I love to escape my relatively hum-drum life into the world on stage.  Perhaps it goes back to my days growing up on Brush Creek in Carroll County, Virginia.  I was a “functional” only child, in that both of my siblings, Carol and Edna, were gone from home by the time I was a teenager, so I did a lot of things on my own.

There was a rock outcropping about 200 yards above my home in the woods.  I’d sit on this flat rock top for hours, with my campfire, cooking my pork n’ beans.  I’d read and escape Brush Creek, and become an explorer with Lewis and Clark.  Or sail down the Mississippi with Huckleberry Finn.  That’s the kind of escape I now find on the stage.

One of my most regular joys come from attending the Barter Theater in Abingdon, VA. (www.bartertheatre.com).  My Barter experience has become even more rewarding by becoming a member of “The Porterfield Society” which means I have left a provision in my will for the Barter.  This allows us to attend about ten plays a year and a gala afterwards.  We have become friends with most of the actors.  I even served as associate producer on a civil war film called Freedom that was produced by our favorite Barter actor, Rick McVey and starred many of the Barter actors.

The theater brings me an opportunity to experience many emotions, to explore my inner self and question my beliefs.  If you live near Abingdon Virginia, I strongly urge you to attend a performance at the Barter.  Once you’re hooked, then I’d suggest you purchase discount tickets each December for the following year.

Splurge for an annual trip to NYC and attend a couple of Broadway plays.  At least, begin attending local high school plays, and local productions.  Attend at least one Opera in your life time.

Respond and let me know of your favorite Theatrical experience.  One that brought you Hope and Happiness.


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About Jerry Haynes

OK, where do I start. I was born…., no that line has already been taken.Call me…, oops so has that one. Well, I won’t attempt to spout musical prose, and just be myself. I grew up in the small cotton mill town of Fries, VA. My parents were hardworking members of the middle class. They never earned more than a little over minimum wage, but I can never remember lacking for anything. After graduating from Fries High School in 1969, I started to VA Tech. After two years of partying (1st), going to movies (2nd), and studying, well, much further down the list, VA Tech decided I need a two year break to get my priorities straight. With a number 8 in the draft lottery, I knew that even if the Hokies didn’t want me, Uncle Sam did. I joined the US Navy. I got my priorities straight. I’m proud to be a Viet Nam veteran, but feel guilty I never got deployed. I graduated from Tech in 1977 with a BS in Civil Engineering. For the next 35 years I would work in both the private and public sectors. My first job took me to Tazewell County, Virginia where I soon joined the Jaycees. This ignited my passion for individual development. This passion still burns today.

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