Winston County playwright honors county doctors
Oct 05, 2013 | 1615 views | 0 0 comments | 105 105 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Annis Evans looks over her script for “The Doctor Is In,” a new play set in 1940s Winston County that remembers the important role country doctors played in their communities. Evans, an artist, also painted this door in her office. Daily Mountain Eagle - Jennifer Cohron
Annis Evans looks over her script for “The Doctor Is In,” a new play set in 1940s Winston County that remembers the important role country doctors played in their communities. Evans, an artist, also painted this door in her office. Daily Mountain Eagle - Jennifer Cohron
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When the amphitheatre at Looney’s Tavern closed more than a decade ago, Winston County’s honored theatrical tradition could have easily disappeared with it.

However, local playwright Annis Evans has taken it upon herself to keep the public entertained.

Her newest work, “The Doctor Is In,” will be performed Thursday, Oct. 17 and Friday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. at Lakeshore Inn in Double Springs.

The comedy is set in Winston County in the 1940s and pays homage to the country doctors of that era.

Evans especially wished to honor the memories of Drs. Thomas Malcolm Blake and William R. Bonds, who served Double Springs and the surrounding communities.

Blake delivered more than 7,000 babies in his 47-year career. A monument to him outside the Winston County Archives describes him as “a perfect model for the legendary country doctor. In fair or foul weather, he spent his entire adult life providing medical care for the citizens of this area.”

Evans said men such as Blake and Bonds provided more personal care than patients can expect in today’s modern healthcare system.

She recalled one night that her son had an asthma attack and her husband took him to Blake’s home.

“He came back up to the office and gave him a shot. My husband got ready to bring him back home and he (Blake) said, ‘Sit back down. We’re not leaving until this boy is alright.’ That’s the kind of doctors they were,” Evans said.

A dinner will precede the performance of “The Doctor Is In.” Local bluegrass band Splurge Creek will also be providing entertainment.

Tickets for the meal and show are $20. They are available at Lakeshore Inn in Double Springs, The Branding Iron in Cullman, Evans Parade Station in Arley and the Winston County Board of Registrars, where Evans has been employed for more than 20 years.

Other plays that Evans has written include “Two Valentines are Better Than None,” “The Merriest Christmas Ever,” “Grannies Are Hard to Feed,” “Mama’s Wake,” “Two Old Maids and a Missionary,” “Gossip from Bells are Ringing Baptist Church,” “The Tattersole Reunion” and “Jackie Rabbit Goes to the Tea Party.”

Some were performed as fundraisers.

Her next production is expected to be “Papa’s Down at the Moonshine Still,” which she describes as a salvation story.

Evans credits God with providing her with her playwriting talent.

“If I’m trying to write without Him giving me words, it would be a long, drawn out nothing. But if He’s giving me words, I can’t type it fast enough,” she said.

Evans and her husband were one of the founding families of the 1500-seat amphitheatre at Looney’s Tavern.

It was constructed to host performances of “The Incident at Looney’s Tavern,” a musical about the county’s struggle against the South’s secession during the Civil War. It was during a meeting at Looney’s Tavern that Winston County earned its nickname “The Free State of Winston.”

The first performances of “The Incident at Looney’s Tavern” were staged in a shopping center parking lot in 1987. It was such a success that the theatre was built.

The play was designated as Alabama’s official state drama in 1993.

The theatre and surrounding park, which included a smaller theatre, a gift shop and a restaurant, were closed for financial reasons.

Theatre lovers like Evans have now found a new outlet through smaller community productions.

“People are hungry for good, clean entertainment,” Evans said.