Gypsy's Travels

Saturday, October 13, 2007

"You Can't Do That, Dan Moody"

I have just returned from a play produced by our local small-town theater group from The Palace Theater. The name of the play is "You Can't Do That, Dan Moody." It was turned into a theater production from a young adult book by the same name. I have seen the play before but it still has an enormous impact.

A play in two acts by Ken Anderson and Tom Swift. Directed by Tom Swift . In September 1923, Williamson County tried and convicted the Ku Klux Klan for the first time ever in the United States. This year, in the courthouse the Palace Theater once again presents the play based on this historic trial, performed in the newly renovated, historically accurate court room in which the trial was held 84 years ago. Join us for a presentation of the true story of Williamson County's courageous stand for justice.

Dan Gattis, our State Representative, played the part of the young Dan Moody. Not only is he young and handsome, he turned in an excellent performance. This is the 5th year the play has been offered since its inception in 1998. This year all people who had previously had roles, were invited back to participate in sharing the roles. at different performances. The show is sold out in spite of the fact The Palace is also offering another play, "Cats", in the historic theater.

The Moody drama is being performed in the courthouse, as usual. What is unusual is that the courthouse has been restored to a historically accurate rendition of the original. The juror chairs had been stashed in a County warehouse. The railing in the balcony was reproduced from a section of the original retrieved from Salado, TX, where it had been stored for 50 years in someone's barn. The benches / pews in the courtroom are original. The wooden railing that separates the court proceedings from the citizens, is original. The court room itself has been restored to its original configuration, which meant an entire section of the floor that served as a ceiling had to be removed and the balcony reconfigured.

We were privileged tonight to have both the author of the book and co-author of the play, Ken Anderson, and co-author and director of the play, Tom Swift, speak to us. It was a chance remark that led to the writing of the book and another chance encounter that led to the play. We are fortunate.

The town has suffered through the loss of use of its courthouse for over a year while major restoration was undertaken. Everyone has complained about the eyesore in the middle of the town square where the building was surrounded by a high board fence for the entire time. It has been worth it.The icing on the cake is that Williamson County, Texas, is still known to be tough on crime and its perpetrators!

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