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When Katy Rosolowski first heard about plans for a community play that would use real stories from real people about Tennessee’s oldest town, she questioned how everything would be spun together to form one seamless production.
It wasn’t until she attended her first audition and rehearsals for “I Am Home,” which made its debut in April in the McKinney Center of the Booker T. Washington School in historic downtown Jonesborough, that she realized in the midst of chaos, a new community was being born.
“Most of the people, including me, who heard about ‘I Am Home’ didn’t really understand what community performance was all about,” Rosolowski said of the play, based on stories collected last year by Telling Jonesborough’s Stories, a communitybased project intended to celebrate what’s special about Jonesborough and its people.
A remount of “I Am Home” will open Thursday and continue select dates throughout October.
The original script was written by Jules Corriere and the play was directed by Richard Geer, both of Community Performance International, in partnership with the town of Jonesborough and the International Storytelling Center.
Auditions for “I Am Home” hosted a variety of people from all walks of life who were eager to share their tales of the Storytelling Capital of the World. Anyone who auditioned was welcomed into the “I Am Home” community, regardless of experience.
“It was a rare opportunity for us to be actively involved in the creative process and work with playwright Jules Corriere and director Richard Owen Geer as edits were made and the stories took shape,” Rosolowski said.
One of Rosolowski’s parts was that of a colonialist who told a story about how the Old Mill was the heart of town in the pioneer days. Her character’s belief was that anyone who drank from the Old Mill Spring would not be content until they made Jonesborough their home. Little did Rosolowski know at the time that the tale would prove prophetic.
In the weeks leading up to the production’s debut, Rosolowski and her husband received a phone call about a home coming available in Jonesborough’s picturesque historic downtown. After living in Piney Flats for quite some time, the couple was intrigued by the opportunity to make a life in Jonesborough. The Rosolowskis knew their fate was sealed the moment they stepped inside the 1871 cottage.
“The Old Mill Spring tale must be true, because the very minute I got a taste of Jonesborough I knew it was our home,” she said.
As Rosolowski and the rest of the “I Am Home” cast prepare for the encore production’s opening weekend during the 39th annual National Storytelling Festival, Rosolowski finds herself knitted in excitement and inspiration as she again prepares to take her role in telling Jonesborough’s story.
“The sweetest reward is meeting people we portrayed in the stories and seeing their reactions,” she said. “The experience will always be a huge part of my heart. We were brought together as strangers and walked away as a community. The best part is that ‘I Am Home’ is only the beginning. There are so many more stories waiting in the wings to be told.”
“I Am Home” is presented under the umbrella title of the Jonesborough Yarn Exchange and is made possible through the Mary B. Martin Program for the Arts through a partnership between the town of Jonesborough, the International Storytelling Center and contributions from Alpha Natural Resources.
The encore production will include special performances at 5:30 p.m., Oct. 6-8 during the National Storytelling Festival and continue at 7 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m., Sundays, Oct. 14-Nov. 3 at the Booker T. Washington School.
Ticket prices are $16 for general admission, $14 for students and seniors 65 and older, and $12 for groups of 15 or more.
For tickets, call (423) 753-1010 or visit www.jonesboroughtn.org .