Gary Reid taking Carter Stanley to Indianapolis

Folks in and around Indianapolis will have a chance to review some important bluegrass history for a week or so as Gary Reid brings his impressive one man show, A Life of Sorrow, the Life and Times of Carter Stanley, to IndyFringe at the Fire Fighter’s Union Hall from August 15-24. Over that period, IndyFringe will present more than 400 live theatrical shows, with plays running back to back over the course of ten days.

Reid wrote A Life of Sorrow several years ago, and initially had hoped to find a theater company to take it on, but failing that, he undertook a study of acting himself in order to get the show on stage. It is presented on a very simple set as an extended monologue with Gary portraying Carter Stanley as he talks about his career as a bluegrass artist in the 1950s and ’60s. There is really no music in the show, other than tiny bits of songs across two acts, but it dives deeply into how Ralph and Carter Stanley were raised in poverty in southwestern Virginia, and came to become musicians as youngsters. 

A Life of Sorrow is a highly entertaining program, which will enthrall anyone with an interest in bluegrass history or the traditions of the music. Gary has researched and compiled details on The Stanley Brothers for decades, and is a recognized scholar in this field. He has brought all that knowledge to bear in both the composition of the script for the show, and in his depiction of Carter, right up to the time he died prematurely from the ravages of alcohol.

We reviewed the show several years ago when it was first being staged, and can recommend it heartily to anyone with even a passing familiarity with the Stanleys.

Here’s a snippet…

It will run six times during IndyFringe

  • August 15 – 7:30 p.m.
  • August 17 – 1:30 p.m.
  • August 18 – 6:00 p.m.
  • August 19 – 7:30 p.m.
  • August 23 – 6:00 p.m.
  • August 24 – 9:00 p.m.

Ticket details can be found online.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.