Liars Bench will present southern Appalachian fright tales at WCU

The Liars Bench will present its third annual show of “Appalachian Spook Tales” at 7 p.m. on Oct. 18 at Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Center auditorium.

The Liars Bench is a southern Appalachian variety show started by writer and storyteller Gary Carden, and the Oct. 18 cast includes Lloyd Arneach, Paul Iarussi, guest storyteller Dot Jackson, and the Tuckaseegee Boys — Ethan Fortner, Russel Messer, and Wyatt Messer — who perform Southern Appalachian scary in story and song on stage.

“The outside world stereotypes us as an ignorant, violent culture, and that’s not true,” said Carden. “Yet at the same time, we’ve had our share of murder and violence. Sometimes it’s been quite dark. This Liars Bench won’t be a ‘funny-face,’ jack-o-lantern type of Halloween show. You need to be ready for Southern Appalachian ‘scary,’” Carden said.

“I know that the audience will be very impressed with the stories of both Lloyd Arneach and Dot Jackson” said Carden.

The Liars Bench is a blend of culturally accurate mountain Americana with traditional Southern Appalachian entertainment for everyone, according to Carden.

“We attempt to treat Appalachian culture with integrity and authenticity and to be an accurate reflection of the Southern Highlanders and their ways,” said Carden. “No matter how successful the show becomes I want people to know that The Liars Bench is an honest rendering of Appalachian culture and tradition.”

The next presentation of The Liars Bench at WCU’s Mountain Heritage Center will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15 with a special production of one of Carden’s plays, “Birdell,” the story of a defiant mountain woman forced off her land by the rising waters of Fontana Lake.

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