Experience R.B. Morris’ Agee Play at KMA


Indya Kincannon
[email protected]
(865) 215-2040

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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“The Man Who Lives Here Is Loony” is a one-man play by Knoxville’s Poet Laureate, R.B. Morris, adapted from the life and work of James Agee.

The title comes from an anonymous person who wrote it on the door of the building on St. James Place in Brooklyn where Agee was living, and where he sometimes kept a goat. The incident was told by Agee’s friend Wilder Hobson. The setting of the play is a room in the garret of a building in Brooklyn on one night in the mid-20th Century.

Through the long night, The Man (Agee) reflects on his life and work, God and humanity, art and artists, literature and writers, New York and Knoxville, and the current American culture in the Nuclear Age.

“The Man Who Lives Here Is Loony” will be presented for four performances in the Knoxville Museum of Art auditorium in late October and early November.

The production dates and times are:

• Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016 at 7 p.m.
• Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016 at 3 p.m.
• Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016 at 7 p.m.
• Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016 at 3 p.m.

In keeping with KMA’s emphasis on local artists, this production features some of Knoxville’s best talent past and present combining to demonstrate a continuing thread of creative excellence.

Agee was a major force in American letters in the middle of the last century. His Knoxville novel, “A Death in the Family,” won a Pulitzer Prize. He wrote screenplays for John Huston and other notable directors, and was nominated for an Academy Award for his screenplay for “The African Queen.” His work in journalism for Time, the Nation and Fortune is considered some of the best those magazines ever published.

His ground-breaking book with the photographer Walker Evans, “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men,” is often cited as the beginning of New Journalism.

In June 2016, Morris was named Knoxville’s Poet Laureate by Mayor Madeline Rogero. He has published four books of poetry and produced six albums of songs. Many of his pieces show a love for his home town and region. He has performed across the United States and Europe as a musician and poet.

Morris’ “The Man Who Lives Here Is Loony” play has one actor who is accompanied by a bassist, symbolizing the character’s thoughts and emotions and emphasizing Agee’s love of music. Projection of still and video images of Agee’s milieu enhance the story.

The local actor is Joe Casterline, who has done many leading Shakespearean roles and numerous film parts. The play will be directed by Morris.

“The Man Who Lives Here Is Loony” 2016 production will celebrate and promote the 100th anniversary of the events that inspired James Agee’s “A Death in the Family.”

Check www.rbmorris.com for event tickets.