A! Magazine for the Arts

Encore performances of <em>I Am Home</em> - with a new twist - will be held Oct. 6-8 and continue on Fridays and Saturdays, Oct. 14-Nov. 3, 2011. (Photo by John Laughrey)

Encore performances of I Am Home — with a new twist — will be held Oct. 6-8 and continue on Fridays and Saturdays, Oct. 14-Nov. 3, 2011. (Photo by John Laughrey)

Encore Brings New Meaning to I Am Home

October 3, 2011

JONESBOROUGH, TN - When Katy Rosolowski first heard about plans for I Am Home, a community play that uses real stories from real people about Tennessee's oldest town, Jonesborough, she questioned how everything would be spun together to form one seamless production.

It was when she attended her first audition and rehearsals that she realized that in the midst of chaos, a bond and new community would arise.

"Most of the people, including me, who heard about I Am Home didn't really understand what community performance was all about. We knew that Jonesborough folks were interviewed and that their stories were going to be part of a play," she said.

The auditions hosted a variety of people from all walks of life who were eager to share their tales of the Storytelling Capital of the World. In a melting pot of ages and experience, anyone who auditioned was welcomed into the I Am Home community, regardless of experience.

"It was a rare opportunity for us to be actively involved in the creative process and work with playwright Jules Corriere and director Richard Owen Geer as edits were made and the stories took shape," Rosolowski said.

Many of the actors were given several roles in the production. One of Rosolowski's parts included that of a colonialist who told a story about how the Old Mill was the heart of town in pioneer times. Her character's belief was that anyone who drank from the Old Mill Spring would not be content until they made Jonesborough their home.

Little did Rosolowski know, this role would open up a brand new spool of yarn in her life that made her realize the true meaning behind I Am Home. During one of the weeks that stitched down to opening night in the spring of 2011, Rosolowski and her husband received a phone call about a home in Jonesborough that was going to be available. After living in Piney Flats, Tenn. for quite some time, the couple was intrigued at the opportunity to make a life in Jonesborough. The Rosolowskis knew it was fate when they stepped inside the 1871 cottage in the historic district of Jonesborough.

"The Old Mill Spring tale must be true, because the very minute I got a taste of Jonesborough, I knew it was our home," she said.

As encore performances of I Am Home draw near for the opening weekend of the 39th annual National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Rosolowski finds herself excited and inspired as she again prepares to take her role in telling Jonesborough's story.

"The sweetest reward is meeting people we portrayed in the stories and seeing their reactions. The experience will always be a huge part of my heart. We were brought together as strangers and walked away as a community. The best part is that I Am Home is only the beginning. There are so many more stories waiting in the wings to be told," she said.

I Am Home is presented under the umbrella title of the Jonesborough Yarn Exchange and made possible through the Mary B. Martin Program for the Arts through a partnership between the Town of Jonesborough, the International Storytelling Center and contributions from Alpha Natural Resources.