Popular Book Finds New Life on Wilson Stage

Posted May 23, 2007 5:04 p.m. EDT
Updated May 23, 2007 6:42 p.m. EDT

— A new one-woman play is showing in Wilson that began with a bestselling book and a well-known author.

Hillsborough author Allan Gurganus has brought his story “Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All” to the stage.
“Every writer is a closet actor, and the beauty is you get to play all the parts and you get all the good lines yourself,” Gurganus said.

The character Lucy is 99 years old and was born in Gurganus' mind.

“She's been waiting almost 100 years to tell her story,” he said.

The book entered the bestseller lists the day it was published. It became a miniseries and was adapted for Broadway, where it wasn’t a success.

Gurganus has now rewritten the play himself and unveiled “Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All” in Wilson. He took control and gave his book another life through the life of Lucy.

“It's a gift, it's a jewel,” said actress Quinn Hawkesworth. “This is about a survivor of the Civil War but also a survivor of the war of marriage.”

And it's about a survivor of success and failure.

“For me, that inexhaustible bind of history and family has been the thing that gets me up every morning at 6 and makes me want to write again and again,” Gurganus said.

“Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All” is playing Fridays through Sundays till June 3 as part of an annual spring festival in Wilson called Theatre of the American South.