Spoon Man

Masters' masterwork takes the stage

The 244 poems in Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology, the tale of a fictional Illinois town as told through the stories of its dead residents, were originally published in serial form between 1915 and 1916. Though they may be fictional, these autobiographical epitaphs contain more than their fair share of truth, perfectly capturing the joy, heartbreak, humor and sorrow of small-town America at the turn of the century. In fact, Masters may have captured the seedy underbelly of his fictional community a little too perfectly—he based his fictions on the real-life residents of Petersburg and Lewistown, Illinois, a fact that didn’t endear him to the townsfolk in his former hometowns; it has also been said that Masters’ frank discussion of infidelity and bigotry may have cost the lawyer more than a few legal clients fearful of becoming fodder for one of his poems. This weekend, the actors of Spirit Expressing bring Masters’ work to the stage, accompanied by traditional folk music composed for the event (speaking of, don’t hesitate to check out Richard Buckner’s 2000 album The Hill, which set 18 Spoon River poems to music). Catch Spoon River at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Monday (with a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday) at Creekside on Forest, inside the Unity Church of Dallas, 6525 Forest Lane. Tickets are $15. Call 972-233-7106.
Oct. 27-28, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 29, 2 p.m.
 
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