By Loretta Cozart
Liberty Mountain: The Revolutionary Drama has returned to the Joy Performance Center at 202 S. Railroad Avenue for its seventh season. And for one actor, Liberty Mountain is more than a play. It is a family tradition.
Jeremy Trent Homesley of Cherryville has been cast in roles of Liberty Mountain since the first season, “I was drawn to the play for a combination of reasons: the opportunity to do theater and my love of history. I was working in Kings Mountain at a fabric company and Director Caleb Sigmon, and his wife Katy, came in to purchase fabric for the costumes that first year.”
He went on to say, “I had been thinking about auditioning and when Caleb and Katy walked through the door, it cinched it for me. I auditioned and was offered the role of Ferguson that first year. My wife Ashley says that I originated the role in the world premiere!” He reprised his role for three more seasons before taking a hiatus. This year, he has taken up the role once again.
One might wonder why Jeremy decided to play Ferguson. He explains, “You must do the role justice, with honor and respect for the human who existed and was well-known. If you are going to embrace the story, you have to embrace all parts of it. And what an interesting person he was! He is a vital part of this story.”
“Ferguson was Scottish, and people living here weren’t a lot different,” Jeremy says, referring to the Scots Irish who were Ulster Protestants who come to America from Ulster in Northern Ireland in search of land and religious freedom.
“Many settlers here had Scottish and Irish accents,” Jeremy said. “And Ferguson, I think, represented the old world to them. I’m sure it was tempting to choose to side with him and stay loyal to the King.”
Many who chose to oppose the crown had come to America with a chip on their shoulders, victims of poverty and hardship in Ireland and blaming their British landowners. They came to the colonies seeking both land and freedom to worship as they pleased.
When the war moved south, both violently and suddenly, settlers were forced to choose sides. And that was not an easy task because their very lives, and the lives of their families, depended upon which side they chose. But a choice had to be made.
This dilemma is key to understanding how civil war came to the Carolina backcountry in 1780. The story is real for many whose family members included both Loyalists and Patriots, whose ancestors founded this region, and the descendants who continue to live in Kings Mountain today. For many, the battled pitted brother against brother. To them this story is a part of their family history and Liberty Mountain brings their story to life.
Over the years, the play has evolved. Jeremy says, “With Bob’s writing at the heart, the story has stayed true and has driven everything in a very consistent way. What has changed is this: what started as a traditional theater experience has now been combined with an outdoor theater experience. Over time, those two experiences have met in the middle.”
He explains, “You can see how open the stage is because of our combat and choreography. The use of projection allows us to free up our stage. In the first two years, we had traditional set pieces and the stage was very cluttered. The fight scenes were limited because of space and access. By meeting in the middle and using a few moving set pieces, we keep the stage open like a traditional outdoor drama.”
Jeremy Homesley, a native of Cherryville, is married to Ashley DeMar and together they have a son, Roan, named for Roan Mountain that is mentioned in the play. “We met during Liberty Mountain, and I proposed to her on the stage after one of the shows.” Jeremy says, “To us, Liberty Mountain is a family tradition.” His parents are Scott and Robin Homesley, also of Cherryville.
This year’s performance features 21 actors, who share the story of people who lived in the backcountry of North and South Carolina, including the Martin family, who faced many tragedies in Scotland, Ireland, and America that lead them to support the Patriot cause. At times, the realities of their lives are too much to bear.
Speaking of the actors, novelist, screenwriter, and playwright Bob Inman says, “I am so proud of this year’s cast. They are, youngest to oldest, professional, not just for Liberty Mountain, but for any play I’ve ever run. They are really, really, good.”
“By the end of the first week, they had everything down. I mean everything, the fight scenes, the whole bit. The second week was just cleaning up,” he added. “They were able to run the whole play on the Friday night of the first week of rehearsal.”
Liberty Mountain is an exciting, immersive story that keeps guests on the edge of their seats. Action on stage spills out into the audience as they become part of Continental Congress, hearing debates between colony delegates who determine the nation’s path toward independence.
Gun and sword fights are action packed, as the drama unfolds before your eyes. Characters dressed in authentic period clothing with long rifles take you back in time over 241 years ago.
Liberty Mountain performances are on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through Sunday, July 17. Only two weekends remain to experience the drama that is Liberty Mountain. Fridays and Saturdays have 7:30 p.m. performances. Matinee performances run Saturdays and Sundays at 3:00 p.m. The box office opens one hour before each performance. Tickets are available online at www.LibertyMountainDrama.com
, by phone, 704-730-9408, or at the box office for walk-ups.
Come 30-minutes early to attend our educational weapons display and other activities or stay after the show to Meet the Cast for autographs and photos. Adding to your revolutionary experience is a display of Revolutionary War historical portraits by renowned artist, Thomas Kelly Pauley.
Questions should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
or call the box office at 704-730-9408.
Liberty Mountain is produced by Kings Mountain Little Theatre, Inc. with Gilbert and Jancy Patrick as the Presenting Sponsor. It is also funded in part by a grant from the Kings Mountain Tourism Development Authority.