RIO GRANDE — A new play about the life of Bob Evans will be performed before an audience for the first time on the weekend of July 13 and 14.
“That Was Bob,” will be presented on Friday, July 13 and on Saturday, July 14 at Bob Evans Farms. Both performances will begin at 8:30 p.m.
The production is a collaboration between Bob Evans Farms, the University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College, the Rio Grande Theater Department and the Madog Center for Welsh Studies. The Evans family is also cooperating with the project.
“The play is made up of a collection of stories about Bob Evans, told by his close friends, family members, business people and people from the community,” said Lisa Jones, who is currently serving as the Davis Intern for the Madog Center for Welsh Studies and is assisting with the production.
Greg Miller, director of cultural advancement at Rio Grande, and Jones spoke with a large number of family members, friends and area residents, asking them to share their stories about Evans.
“It’s amazing how many people were eager to tell stories,” Miller said.
“One of the stories we are using in the play is from one of his first waitresses,” Jones added.
She and Miller wove the different tales together to create this play, which will allow audience member to learn a little more about Evans.
Jones and Miller greatly enjoyed the opportunity to hear from so many people about Evans, and it was easy to see how much they loved and respected him.
“You could just see their faces lighting up when they talked about him,” Jones said.
The play is filled with laughter, as warm stories from throughout Evans’ life are carefully told in numerous ways, including videos of Bob Evans sharing in his own words.
“Nobody is going to play Bob in the play, Bob is going to be Bob,” Jones said.
She explained that a Welsh television company did a series of interviews with Evans, and that company has now shared the videotapes with Rio Grande for the play. Through the videos, audience members will be able to hear from Bob Evans directly, in between the stories that are told about him.
Miller added that he knew Bob Evans for years, but he learned a great deal about him from listening to area residents share their thoughts about him. He added that the audience members who knew Evans will likely learn some new stories about him, too, and they will enjoy seeing the production of the tales they may already know.
“What we are trying to do is to bring these stories to life,” Jones said.
The cast includes Nathan Wood, Lucia Colley, Minda Hager, along with Jones and Miller. The Red Brush Band members Allen Daugherty, Mike Vigue and Harry Kuhn will add the musical support for the project.
Jones and Miller compiled several hours’ worth of material to put into this production, and many of the additional stories will be archived by the Madog Center.
The play focuses on the importance of family, travel, programs such as 4-H, and the Welsh heritage in Bob’s life, and Jones and Miller are thankful for the opportunity to bring this new play to Bob Evans Farms.
For more information including ticket price, call the Madog Center For Welsh Studies at Rio Grande at 1-800-282-7201.