Flyer for the Vienna Historical Society’s annual play. Submitted Photo

VIENNA — The Vienna Historical Society will be making a return to the stage with its annual plays after three years of silence due COVID-19 restrictions. VHS will be performing plays written by Beverly Wight Smith and directed by Ellie Andrews at Vienna Union Hall, located at 5 Vienna Mtn. Rd. in Vienna, at 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, July 20 and 21; and at 2 and 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 22.

The two plays are titled “A Restful Afternoon” and “Perking Up Aunt Prudy” and the performers will include Smith, Andrews, Jim Wright, Shelley Duchesne, Pam Bean, Eileen Lord, Sara Jancarik, Annette Smith, Barbara Gilman, Clyde Dyar, Steve Mallen, John Harker, Deb Parry, Steve Mallen, and Karla Arceneaux.

“They’re from Vienna, Mount Vernon, sometimes from Farmington, Fayette,” Andrews said in an interview. “As matter of fact, this year we have one all the way from Florida.”

She added, “Our objective is to have people come and have an entertaining, fun evening and get as many laughs as we can.”

Mill Stream Grange will be providing beverages and snacks for attendees. According to Andrews, all participants are volunteers and they utilize clothing from thrift shops and antiques either from the performers or the historical society as props for the set.

“We do our own costumes,” she said. “We’re digging around at the thrift shops and the Goodwill and our grandmothers’ closets and all that kind of thing.”


The last performance by the VHS was in 2019 and had been ongoing since 1983. Due to the pandemic, the performance was shelved for three years. If not for the pandemic, this year’s performance would have been the fortieth anniversary.

The performers are getting ready for their big night as the Vienna Historical Society brings back the annual plays. From left to right, Annette Smith, Beverly Wight Smith, Shelley Duchesne and Jim Wright. Submitted Photo

Primarily written by Smith, the plays are comedic in tone with historical elements written in to celebrate the rich history of Vienna and Mount Vernon. Smith says she has had a fascination with history since she was a young girl.

“I first started to get particularly interested when Mount Vernon had its bicentennial back in 1942,” she said in a phone interview with the Franklin Journal. “I was just 11, and my great uncle gave a historical talk at the church that day when they were celebrating and it was just fascinating to hear about all those things that he mentioned that happened back in the old days.

“I enjoy hearing old timers talk,” she added. “I’m glad I talked to as many as I did, because you know, if things don’t get written down, they may be forgotten.”

Smith was part of the original group that organized the plays in 1983. Her interest in writing started in 1954 when she won a prize for a play she submitted to a magazine.

“There was some contest advertised in the American Agriculturist magazine in 1954,” she said. “I sent a play into that, and they had a prize of $150, which said divided between four people, so I was one of the winners.”

Smith has been the primary writer for the plays since 1983, and is also a performer as well. “When I was a child, that’s something I thought I’d like to do when I grew up was to be an actress,” she said. “So, you know, doing the plays gives me a chance to do some acting.”

The play is open to the public with a suggested donation of $12. All proceeds from the play go to the VHS.

“We want everybody to come,” Andrews said. “If people can’t afford it, we still want them to come.”

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