By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Later this month the dead come to life in Oxford, but the occasion is neither spooky nor necessarily spiritual: It’s a story telling.
The Cedar Oaks Guild and Theater Oxford will present the fourth “Spirits of Oxford” oral history program on Oct. 26 at St. Peter’s Cemetery, with performances at 6 and 8 p.m.
“Spirits of Oxford” is a short-distance guided tour of St. Peter’s in which actors reprise the lives of figures from Oxford’s past in seven-minute monologues. The area will be lit, limited seating is provided, and the tour is wheelchair accessible.
This year’s personifications include nearly a dozen people:
• Motee Daniels, all-around colorful character and one-time bootlegger to William Faulkner, played by Jim McCauley;
• Della Davidson, an educator and administrator integrally involved in developing the plan for the integration of Oxford and Lafayette schools, played by Detra Payne;
• Octavia Kendall Duke, whose grandfather saved the county records before Union forces burned the courthouse and whose sons served in World War II, played by Kaye Bryant;
• Estelle Oldham Faulkner, wife of Nobel laureate William Faulkner and an artist and writer in her own right, played by Dianne Fergusson;
• Thomas Isom, a physician who was instrumental in the founding of the University of Mississippi and later served in the Civil War, David Bell;
• Sarah Isom, Thomas’ wife, who met with General Ulysses S. Grant when he came through Oxford, played by DeDe Reid;
• Daniel McKee, the only Revolutionary War veteran buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery, played by Lester Ferrell;
• Huldric Price, organizer of the Lamar Rifles survivors group and a post-war businessman, played by Ken Wooten;
• Dot Oldham, William Faulkner’s sister-in-law and curator of the University Library’s Mississippi Collection, played by Marge McCauley;
• Mary Alice Tate, who organized the Oxford Pilgrimage and the effort to save antebellum Cedar Oaks from demolition, played by Lynn Wells.
In addition to the Oct. 26 program, Spirits of Oxford cast members will make guest appearances at civic clubs, the Oct. 25 Thacker Mountain Radio performance and local restaurants featuring “Spirits Specials.”
This year’s production is funded in part by a grant from Lafayette-Oxford Foundation for Tomorrow. All proceeds will benefit Cedar Oaks Historic Home and Theater Oxford.
PARKING FOR SPIRITS OF OXFORD PERFORMANCES on Oct. 26 will be at Bramlett Elementary School and St. Andrews Methodist Church, with shuttle service to the gate.
TICKETS ARE ON SALE at the Powerhouse Arts Center, the tourism desk in City Hall, Oxford-Lafayette Chamber of Commerce and Oxford Convention Center; from members of the Cedar Oaks Guild; by phone at (662) 753-1163; and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets are $10 cash and $11 credit/debit card and are expected to sell out.