Archive Contents

‘Come Home, It’s Suppertime’
 in Brundidge

by Jaine Treadwell

Dreams really do come true.

The realization of a dream stands proudly on the corner of Main and Clio streets in the small South Alabama town of Brundidge.

Twice a year the doors of the historic building are flung open, the dinner bell rings and the call, “Come Home, It’s Suppertime!” brings people from near and far to a theater experience like no other.

Since its premier performance in the spring of 2002, the folklife play, “Come Home, It’s Suppertime,” has played to soldout audiences that included people from 12 states and three foreign countries.

When Dr. David Dye, veteran director of theater at Troy University, walked through the door of the “We Piddle Around Theater,” he knew immediately that he was going to experience something unique and something very special.

“When I saw the sawdust on the floor and the rafters in the ceiling, I knew that I was in a special place,” Dye said. “The stories, the music, the characters on stage – everything was lovingly done. It was funny; it was sad; it was poignant; it was filled with color. I felt proud to be in the midst of people who seemed to really be enjoying what they were doing.”

Dye said “Come Home, It’s Suppertime” is like basking in the mirror of the town where “we all” grew up – where generations have come and gone. 

“It’s a wonderful sense of being connected – the thread of history of who we are,” he said. “We all like to

go home and we can all go home in our memories. And, we do so want to gohome at suppertime. Now, we all have that wonderful opportunity. Community theater in Brundidge has invited us to ‘Come Home, It’s Suppertime.’ What a wonderful, warm experience it was to be at home at suppertime.”

The road to the realization of the dream of a folklife theater in Brundidge began about six years ago. Members of the Brundidge Historical Society sat around the table at the Southern Express Café and committed to making their longtime dream come true.

With a shoestring budget, primarily from a $2,500 grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the loan of a building from the City of Brundidge, the dream began to take shape.

The former city hall building had been gutted by fire in the early 1990s and was only a shell with a hole for a floor. The hole was filled with dirt and covered with shavings and staging built. To darken the theater, the windows were covered with works of art by local artists and, at last, the curtain was ready to go up at the “We Piddle Around Theater.”

The building was constructed in 1940 as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project. The WPA provided jobs for those who desperately needed and wanted to work. However, the WPA gained – rightly or wrongly so – the reputation of folks just “piddling around” rather than putting in a full day’s work. The WPA was therefore dubbed “We Piddle Around.”

When the Brundidge Historical Society was considering names for the theater, many suggestions were made but none so fitting as the “We Piddle Around Theater.”

“Come Home, It’s Suppertime” is set in the rural countryside during the Great Depression and the 1940s WPA project is a fitting home for the production.

A good bit of piddling and a lot of hard work have gone into making the dream of an original South Alabama folklife play come true.

The theater seats 112 at its supper tables. “Company” is served family-style and just like grandma used to fix – fried chicken, black-eye peas, turnip greens, pepper sauce, sweet potatoes, cornbread and sweet tea. Blackberry pie is served at intermission. 

The stories told in “Come Home, It’s Suppertime” are 100 percent true and performed as told by real-life “characters” in and around Brundidge. However, the characters in the folklife play are composite characters – a little of one and a bit of another – so that they mix and blend to tell the story of Hard Times and the good ol’ days.

The script for the play is original and music, written especially for “Come Home,” enhances the script and the old familiar hymns and songs.

“What makes the play so much fun and so memorable is that those who are telling the stories are not actors,” said Fran Sharp, a freelance writer from Alabaster. “They are real people and they make the stories so real – just like you were sitting at your granddaddy’s knee or around the supper table listening to tales of the day.”

Sharp has an idea of what makes “Come Home, It’s Suppertime” so unique, but Lawrence Bowden, president of the Brundidge Historical Society, is still a bit puzzled by the play’s popularity.

“We really don’t know that it’s any one thing,” he said. “But put everything together – the atmosphere, the stories, the music, the talented people on stage, the food. Everything together, “Come Home, It’s Suppertime” makes people want to come back again and again. We are excited and encouraged that so many people have come and enjoyed the play, hopefully as much as we enjoy doing it.”

Performances of the spring 2005 season of “Come Home, It’s Suppertime” are March 30, 31 and April 1, 2, 6, 7, 8 and 9. The fall season performances will be Nov. 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11 and 12. 

For ticket information call (334) 735-3125 from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. MTWF and from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday. 

Jaine Treadwell is a freelance writer from Brundidge.



Archive Contents

Date Last Updated January, 2006