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Local tales come to life on Sautee stage
0715Headwaters 1
"Headwaters: Birth, Death and Places In-Between," will be on stage at the Sautee Nacoochee Center gym in Sautee through July 25. The show brings to life local tall tales and mountain folklore.

‘Headwaters: Birth, Death and
Places In-Between’
When: Through July 25; 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
Where: The Sautee Nacoochee Center gym, 283 Ga. 255 N., Sautee
How much: $20 nonmembers; $15 members; $6 children
More info: 706-878-3300

We all have stories to tell.

In Sautee, the stories of some Northeast Georgia residents are coming alive on stage in "Headwaters: Birth, Death and Places In-Between."

The play, now in its fourth year, will be at the Sautee Nacoochee Center’s gym through July 25 and features stories submitted from residents of the center’s five surrounding counties.

Kathy Blandin, executive director of the Sautee Nacoochee Community Association, said "Headwaters" already has had two sold-out shows.

Blandin said the play’s stories are relatable, whether you live in Northeast Georgia or another part of the South.

"These stories were all chosen because these stories have a kernel of universal truth," she said.

One story focuses on a man caught in Purgatory who, Blandin said, has to decide whether he was "a bad man, or just a stupid one."

The man, Jimbo, gets some help with that decision from his horse, Cowboy, who is represented by a puppet.

"Jimbo really existed in this community, and he had a horse named Cowboy, and you can still go and see Cowboy," she said. "And Jimbo, which was not his real name, really was, by most accounts, a bad man, and he just disappeared one day. Truly just disappeared. Nobody knows what happened to him."

Blandin said the writers of "Headwaters" use some dramatic license, as with the Purgatory element of Jimbo’s story, but keep most of the stories true to life.

While Jimbo’s story deals with death, she said another story involving birth will resonate with the audience.

"There’s one that takes place kind of in the ’70s, when everything was free (love) and there is a woman who is having a baby and she is in a hot tub pretending to be a dolphin," Blandin said. "The midwife walks into this crowd of people who are all kind of free love — I guess we would call them hippies, I suppose — and has to deal with that situation."

Another story about a birth takes on a more serious tone.

"There’s one from earlier in the century where the husband, his religion prevents a doctor from touching his wife, and the delivery is not going well," Blandin said. "The midwife wants to send her to the hospital, and the husband will not allow it."

The originators of "Headwaters" got the idea while sitting around a dinner table in 2002.

"Some of them had been down to see ‘Swamp Gravy,’ (a similar play) down in Colquitt, and they said, ‘You know what? We could do that.’ And so they started collecting stories," she said.

A grant from the National Endowment for the Arts funded the project in 2007, and the folks in Sautee have been sharing stories ever since.

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