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Edward Foote
By Phillip DePoy
Study Guide
Created by Hiram High School Language Arts Class of Ms. Michelle Roberts
As part of the Alliance Theatre Institute for Educators and Teaching Artists’
Dramaturgy by Students
Under the guidance of Teaching Artist Rachel Jones
Edward Foote Show Art
Phillip DePoy began his work as a writer in 1965 with the Actors and Writers
Workshop. Over the next ten years, he become a published poet and acquired a
master’s degree in performance art. Soon thereafter, he became a writer in
residence for the Georgia Council for the Arts and a nationally reviewed
performance artist. In the 1980s, he was the composer in residence for the
Academy Theatre. In the 1990s, he was the Artistic Director of Theatrical Outfit, a
professional, Equity theatre. Since then, he has served as the director of several
university theatre programs. He has also had five of his Flap Tucker mysteries
published by Dell (one was a Shamus finalist), seven Fever Devilin novels and a
standalone novel called The King James Conspiracy by St. Martin's, and a very nice work of non-fiction
called The Tao And The Bard by The Arcade House. There have also been forty-two productions of plays
he's written, including the Edgar Award winning Easy, best mystery play of 2002. He is GACS 2012
Author of the Year.
Edward Foote at the Alliance Theatre
Page 1 of 17
An oddly familiar stranger wanders into a tiny, rugged Appalachian community in the 1930s. Could it be
that Edward Foote, a drunken good-for-nothing father, has returned? In this Southern Gothic ghost
story, a small community reveals its darkest secrets to solve a fifteen year mystery.
Chris Coleman has been artistic director of the Portland Center Stage in
Portland, Oregon since May 1, 2000. Since then, he has directed Bat Boy:
The Musical, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Man & Superman, Outrage, Much Ado
about Nothing, The Seagull to name a few. Before coming to Portland, he
was artistic director at Actor's Express in Atlanta, a company he cofounded in the basement of an old church in 1988. In the twelve years of
his leadership, the Express grew from a shoestring operation to one of the
most highly regarded small theatres in the country; operating every single
year in the black. His first opera, La Boehme, for the Atlanta Opera, broke
box office records.
Chris has long been a public advocate for the arts, spearheading the Atlanta Arts Think Tank, serving on
the board of the Atlanta Theatre Coalition, as well as review panels for the National Endowment for the
Arts, Fulton County Arts Council, Georgia Council for the Arts, The Pew Charitable Trust and Portland’s
Regional Arts and Culture Council. From 1998-2004 he served on the board of directors of Theatre
Communications Group [TCG], the national service organization for professional theaters, and currently
sits on advisory boards for Eastern & Central European Theatre Initiative, a project of the Center for
International Theatre Development, and Sojourn Theatre in Portland. He is a 2004/05 Fellow of the
American Leadership Forum of Oregon.
A native of Atlanta, Chris holds a B.F.A. from Baylor University and a M.F.A. from Carnegie Mellon.
Jeremy Aggers (Reece) is grateful to be returning to the Alliance stage. Jeremy is a
musician, voice-over, and stage actor from North Carolina. He’s lived in Atlanta
since 2006 and was last seen on the Alliance stage in The Whipping Man. When not
acting or playing his songs under the Brash Music label, he narrates for ListenUp
Lowrey Brown (Mr. Nevins) is honored to be returning to the Alliance Stage in
this world premiere production. Other Alliance Credits: Christmas Carol, The
Wizard of Oz, and Into the Woods. Other Atlanta credits include: Les
Misérables (Aurora Theatre), Much Ado About Nothing (Georgia Shakespeare),
and A Wrinkle In Time (Theatrical Outfit). TV/Film: TURN (AMC),Revolution (NBC),
Drop Dead Diva (Lifetime).
Edward Foote at the Alliance Theatre
Page 2 of 17
Steve Coulter (Ray Earl) A graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts,
Steve has worked extensively in theaters across the United States, including the
Guthrie Theatre, the Alliance Theatre and Musical Theatreworks in New York. He
can be seen in James Wan's The Conjuring, Insidious: Chapter 2, Anchorman 2:
The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Steve has a regular role in the Cinemax/HBO series,
Banshee. He has appeared in The Hunger Games, Disney's The Odd Life of
Timothy Green, Jayne Mansfield's Car, and What to Expect When You're
Expecting. Steve was the head writer and executive story editor for both of Tyler
Perry's television series, “House of Payne” and “Meet the Browns,” where he
supervised over 100 episodes and won two consecutive NAACP IMAGE Awards
for Best Comedy Series.
Ann Marie Gideon (Nigella) Alliance Theatre: The Geller Girls, A Christmas Carol.
Georgia Shakespeare: One Man, Two Guvnors, As You Like It, Hamlet,
Metamorphoses, Importance of Being Earnest, Noises Off, Shrew: The Musical
(Suzi Bass Nomination). Horizon Theatre: Time Stands Still (Suzi Bass Nomination).
Pinch’N’Ouch Theatre: Bachelorette. National Tours: Much Ado About Nothing &
Lord of the Flies (National Players), Honky Tonk Angels (Springer Opera House).
Graduate of the University of Memphis
Trevor Goble (Barlow) is so excited and honored to be making his Alliance
Theatre debut in Edward Foote. Trevor is a proud graduate of Kennesaw State
University with a BA in Theatre and Performance Studies. He was last seen as
Joe in Philadelphia, Here I Come! with Arís Theatre. Other credits include XPT
2014 (Center for Puppetry Arts), The Man Who Came to Dinner (Georgia
Ensemble Theatre) and The Red Herring (The Collective Project, Inc.). He would
like to thank Jody and Chris for this wonderful opportunity, Phillip for his
amazing script and his family, friends and mentors for always encouraging and
believing in him. God bless!
Bethany Ann Lind’s (Mrs. Nevins) wide range of theatre credits include work with
La Jolla Playhouse, Arena Stage, Alliance Theatre, Signature Theatre, Kenny
Leon's True Colors Theatre and others. She has worked with nationally acclaimed
artists, including Tony winners Phylicia Rashad and Judith Ivey, Pulitzer Prize
winner Quiara Alegria Hudes, and Tony nominees Kenny Leon, Christopher
Ashley, and David Esbjornson. Lind is also known for creating roles in numerous
world premieres such as Leigh in Really Really at Signature Theatre, Joanna in the
stage adaptation of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner at True Colors Theatre, Dora
in The Storytelling Ability of a Boy at Florida Stage, Olivia in 26 Miles and Margo
in Carapace both at Alliance Theatre. Most recently she completed filming the
romantic lead in the indie feature Crackerjack produced by Jeff Foxworthy. Lind
also finished a highly praised run of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner at Arena Stage opposite MalcolmJamal Warner.
Edward Foote at the Alliance Theatre
Page 3 of 17
Hayley Platt (Ann) is honored to be returning to the Alliance Theatre. Her recent
Atlanta credits include Tall Girls, Christmas Carol (Alliance Theatre); Cordelia in
King Lear, and Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (The Atlanta Shakespeare
Company); Dr. Faustus (Resurgen’s Theatre); and Peter Pan (Legacy Theatre).
National: Feld Entertainment’s Playhouse Disney Live! and Entertainment Cast
Member for the Walt Disney World Corporation in Florida. International: Feld
Entertainment’s Playhouse Disney Live! (South America, Caribbean, and Canada),
Winnie the Pooh Live (China, Russia, and Japan), Disney Live: Three Classic Fairy
Tales (China, Italy, Australia, and Spain), and Disney Live: Mickey’s Music Festival
(Spain). Hayley graduated with a B.A. in Theatre and Classical Culture from the
University of Georgia.
Reece - a self-styled preacher in his early 30s
Nigella - a headstrong orphan girl about 15
Mrs. Nevins - a high-strung woman about 30
Ray Earl - a grizzled stranger in his 40s
Mr. Nevins - married to Mrs. Nevins, more level-headed
Ann - a solid, sweet girl about 15
Barlow - a boy with a limp, about 17, Ann’s beau
Unfamiliar Words and Phrases from Edward Foote
Aster – a plant of the daisy family that has bright, rayed flowers, typically of purple or pink.
Aught – anything at all, any part of something, in any degree, or in any respect to something.
Barren – unable to reproduce; in religious communities barrenness is looked down on
Beau – A boyfriend or male admirer.
Birdshot – the smallest size of a shot for shotguns
Bit-het – slang for beset; a person who is beside himself or herself
Blasphemy – is the act of speaking against or cursing God or sacred things. Disrespectful behavior
towards anything held sacred.
Bluegrass – A sub-genre of Country music. Traditionally Folk music with only acoustic instruments and
narrative lyrics.
Born twice – having undergone a renewal of faith or life, in particular; born again/reborn
Edward Foote at the Alliance Theatre
Page 4 of 17
Brambles – any prickly shrub belonging to the rose family.
Briar – Any number of prickly scrambling shrubs, especially the sweetbrier and wild roses
Canaan – Ancient region lying between the Jordan River, and the Dead Sea; another name for Heaven
Chaff – a dry and scaly casing that protects seeds of different plants and grains; worthless; trash
Cipher – A secret or disguised way of writing a code
Condemnation – The act of expressing an unfavorable or adverse judgment; the act of indicating strong
Condescension – An attitude of patronizing superiority or distain.
Congregation – a group of people assembled for religious worship; a group of people obeying a common
religious rule but under less solemn vows than embers of the older religious orders
Contagion – the spreading of a harmful disease, idea or practice
Covenant – an agreement; can be by lease, deed, or other legal contracts.
Deadpan – accomplished with a careful seriousness or calm detachment, also known as impassive or
Drunkard – a person who is usually and frequently drunk
Dustbowl – a period of extreme drought, dust storms, and agricultural hardship that prevailed in the
Midwestern United States in the 1930’s, coinciding with the Great Depression
Garden of Eden (temptation) – referencing the Christian Bible the book of Genesis Chapters 2 and 3
when Adam and Eve were tempted to break God's law
Gaucho – A cowboy of the South American Pampas
God-fearing – Describes religious people who try to obey the rules of their religion and to live in a way
that is considered morally right; deeply respectful or fearful of God.
Grange House –a farm including the farmhouse and nearby buildings
Grizzled – having gray or partly gray hair
“He’ll take up a snake now and then, just in the way of proving the Spirit’s in him” –This quotation is a
reference to Mark 16:15-18, “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel
to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not
believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name
they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with
their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place
their hands on sick people, and they will get well.’” The act of picking up a snake shows that
the individual has been saved and blessed by the Holy Spirit; as a result, the individual will
have the ability to overcome many adversities that would be impossible for a condemned
soul to overcome.
Edward Foote at the Alliance Theatre
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Holy Spirit – 3rd person in the Holy Trinity. Fully God; He is eternal, omniscient, omnipresent; has a will
can speak; Not visible
Hubbub – used to describe a chaotic uproar, usually consisting of many people talking all at once.
Hubris – Excessive pride or self-confidence; arrogance.
“I'm declaring for you” – A declaration of love for someone. Used roughly from the 1930's to 1950's.
Insular Philosophy – A narrow-minded and ignorant system of thought
Ire – Anger.
“It don't signify” – That doesn't mean anything.
Iteration – repetition, the act of repeating a process or words.
Jorge Luis Borges’s “The Plot” – an Argentine short story; Borges writing material focuses on the
character of unreality in all literature
"Like Saul, struck down by God." – This statement refers to the Biblical story of Saul, the Pharisee, who
was on the road to Damascus when he was suddenly struck by the Grace of God. He rose up
as Paul, the great Christian missionary to the Gentile World. This was seen as a great
Lo – used to draw attention to an interesting or amazing event
Marrow bones – delicate meat item that comes from the bones of animals; used to flavor dishes
Mountain community – small, technologically-underdeveloped community in a mountain range with a
local camaraderie, deep religious tradition, and agrarian-based economy
Muster – To gather, summon, or rouse.
Nary – is the informal or dialect form of not or never
Nuptials – A wedding or marriage
Pallet – a bed made of straw or a small, makeshift bed
Porch sitting – a leisure activity, which can be direct or indirect form of social interaction, done by sitting
on a front porch or a stoop
Purge – To remove, cleanse, or purify what is impure or undesirable.
Pustule – a small elevation of the skin (similar to a blister) containing pus
Quartet – any group of four persons or things; used here in a musical sense
"Rail against the punishment." – To complain angrily about a punishment inflicted on someone as
vengeance for a wrong or criminal act.
rebuke – to express sharp, stern disapproval; reprimand
Revenant –a person who returns as a spirit after death; ghost
‘Shine – a slang term for moonshine; high proof distilled alcohol made from corn hash.
Sawmill – A place or building in which timber is sawed into planks or boards.
Edward Foote at the Alliance Theatre
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Secular vs. sacred music – sacred (religious) music is used in worship in Christian churches and secular
(worldly) music is used for entertainment
Sharecropper – An agricultural system in which a land-owner allows a tenant to live on the land and
work in exchange for a portion of the crops produced.
Snakeroot – any of the type of plants whose roots are used to make remedies for snakebites
Timber-Rattler – Species of rattlesnake living around forests, hilly woodlands, and thickets.
“Valley of the Shadow of Death” – figuratively stands for the perils of life, from which God protects
believers; a reference to Psalm 23. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of
death, I will fear no evil.”
Venison – Meat from a deer
Wisteria – an invasive species of flower with bright purple petals; native to East Asia and the eastern
United States
Edward Foote at the Alliance Theatre
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The Great Depression and the Appalachian Community
The effects of the Great Depression hit early and hit hard in the Appalachian region. In fact,
Appalachia was one of the hardest hit places in the United States. While most of the surrounding areas
were prosperous during the 1920’s, the Appalachian region was not. After World War I, the lumber and
textile industries faded and suffered significantly from overproduction and low wages. Oil started
replacing coal in many industries. Few companies were interested in setting up business in the region
due to a sharp decline in natural resources. Before the stock market crash of 1929, many Appalachian
families tried to make a living by farming. Unfortunately, years of industrial abuse had left the land
thoroughly exhausted. Families could only harvest enough crops to feed themselves. They could not
make much of a profit. With little hope of making a profit at home, many of the Appalachian people left
to search for jobs in other areas. The region never fully recovered, population counts are still low today.
Wildcrafting is the practice of harvesting uncultivated plants from their natural habitat for food or
medical purposes. The plants referenced in Edward Foote include red honeysuckle, purple wisteria, and
pink Cherokee rose.
Red Honeysuckle is said to have magical power to attract money, enhance psychic powers, and provide
protection. It is also believed that if honeysuckle is grown near a person's home that it will bring good
luck and if it grows over the door it will keep fevers at bay.
Another flower mentioned is the Cherokee rose. Legend states that during the Trail of Tears, Cherokee
mothers wept for their dying children. The elders prayed for a sign that would give the mothers faith
and hope that things would get better. The next day, they found beautiful white flowers where the
mothers’ tears had landed. They believed that white in the flower represented the mothers’ tears, gold
was the gold taken from Cherokee land, and the seven leaves stood for the seven Cherokee clans. To
this day, the flower grows along the route of the Trail of Tears into eastern Oklahoma.
The final flower mentioned is purple wisteria. This flower can grow anywhere that is sunny or semishaded with moist soil. Wisteria represents immortality and longevity due to the fact that it can survive
between 100 and 120 years. It also symbolizes love, honor, grace, bliss, and victory over hardship.
Purple Wisteria
Edward Foote at the Alliance Theatre
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Sacred Harp Music
With its earliest traces found in 18th century New England, Sacred Harp music has been a religious
tradition in rural communities for hundreds of years. A form of sacred choral music, it is performed a
cappella and consists of Protestant Christian hymns, typically from The Sacred Harp, which was
published in 1844 by B. F. White and E. J. King. Coinciding with the introduction of shape-note style
notation, Sacred Harp music experienced a revival between 1770 and 1820. Stylistically, the songs fall
into three catagories: hymns, fuguing tunes, and anthems. Being most structurally solid for group
environments, hymns are the most common for Sacred Harp. Hymns are set into 4-bar phrases and are
sung in multiple verses, whereas fuguing tunes and anthems are more structurally free and longer in
length. In opposition, the vocals are much less strict in form. There is no single, constant conductor but
rather various vocalists take the role as the service proceeds. While singing, the congregation maintains
a moveable pitch system that is initiated by the temporary conductor of the group. Once the leader
begins a pitch, the rest of the vocalists find their pitch based his. The hymns themselves are also sung
with variety and not strictly from the hymnal.
Arranged seating for Sacred Harp is necessary for the production of the sound as a whole. The
vocalists are seated in a square that is divided into four sections of rows for each classification of
vocalist: altos, basses, trebles, and tenors (as depicted below). As the conductor changes, he or she may
stand in the center of the square in order to hear the complete sound. The seating for the venues are
generally limited to about a dozen vocalists as they are performing most commonly in houses rather
than large auditoriums or churches, although more grand events of Sacred Harp have been known to
seat over 1,000 vocalists. The more ambitious events may include a potluck dinner in the middle of the
day, traditionally known as “dinner on the grounds.” Sacred Harp singing is found most often in rural,
pastoral areas, for a participatory purpose rather than for the purpose of performing for an audience.
Check out the 8.5x11 posters starting on Page 11
Edward Foote at the Alliance Theatre
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Edward Foote in the Classroom
Pre Show Questions:
1. What is the Great Depression and how did it affect the everyday lives of citizens?
2. How do strongly held beliefs about the end of the world affect people’s actions?
3. How can storytelling connect the speaker to his or her audience? What could a story help
him or her convey?
4. How do marriage customs differ between cultures? What are the commonalities?
Post Show Questions:
1. Why does Ray Earl share the marrow bones story? Was there any hidden meaning? Was
the story foreshadowing?
2. Discuss the relationship between Mrs. Nevins, Mr. Nevins, and Reece. How does this
relationship change?
3. How does Ann and Barlow’s engagement affect the tone of the play? Why is their story
4. What does the sunset at the end of the play symbolize?
5. Is Mrs. Nevin’s fifteen year silence believable? Why or why not.
6. How does the singing in Edward Foote relate to the Chorus in Oedipus? What is the role
of music and how does it affect the play?
7. The author calls this piece a “literary fractal.” What does that mean? Does the label fit?
Creative Writing Prompts:
1. Write a portion of the play from the perspective of Ann or Barlow.
2. Write a story about the people of the Valley after Reece’s death.
3. Choose a classic story and describe how you would modernize it.
Edward Foote at the Alliance Theatre
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Edward Foote at the Alliance Theatre
Edward Foote at the Alliance Theatre
Edward Foote at the Alliance Theatre
Edward Foote at the Alliance Theatre
Edward Foote at the Alliance Theatre
Edward Foote at the Alliance Theatre
Edward Foote at the Alliance Theatre