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Sally McCoy

Oct 4 – Nov 10
Barter Stage II

“Winner of Barter’s 2018 Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights.”

Recommended for mature audience due to language and subject matter

By Alice Stanley

In the midst of the first gruesomely violent event of the legendary Hatfield and McCoy feud, one woman does what she must to save her family. Sally McCoy tells a harrowing and deeply personal story which takes a hard look at how women’s stories and perspectives are too often excluded from our historical narratives. Set in August 1882, Sally’s three eldest sons are captured by the Hatfield clan. Sally defies her womanly place in the home and crosses miles of Appalachian wilderness in the dark of night to save her children from certain death at the vengeful hands of the Hatfields. After traveling all those miles alone, she arrives at the home of the Hatfield patriarch, “Devil” Anse Hatfield, and refuses to let anything stand in her way until she has seen the “Devil” face to face.


October 6th: 4 Hatfield/McCoy family members, the director, and some of the cast

October 12th: Neil Warren (historian), the director, and some of the cast

October 26-28th: Alice Stanley (the playwright) and some of the cast

Director's Notes

We all know something or other about the epic feud between the Hatfields and McCoys. It is the stuff of American legend- a tribal tale of bloody vengeance that endured for the last 30 years of the 19th century. Maybe this particular feud sticks in the American psyche because it has all the elements of Shakespearean tragedy: family honor, betrayal, bloodlust, star-crossed lovers, and of course, a stolen pig. It was not nearly the bloodiest feud taking place in our young country at the time, but it would capture the imagination of historians and laymen alike, earning the Tug Fork River region the nickname “Murderland”.Ultimately, these two families believed in their own clan, no matter what, kinfolk above all else. And we need only watch five minutes of the evening news to see that this same mentality burns brightly, even today.

Our play is set smack dab in the middle of these violent times, as Sally is surrounded by quick tempered men armed with guns, knives, and their blind hatred of “others” that colored every moment of her life. It does not dwell on big sweeping thoughts of social order, nor the decades of infighting that lead up to this dark night. Rather, it concerns itself with strength and fortitude, the incomparable bond, and resolute convictions of a mother’s love. At a time when wives and daughters were the slaves of the poorest families, who could expect such a woman to be brave? And who would allow her to speak her mind?

Family was on Sally McCoy’s mind one night in 1882, as she made her way through the dark and treacherous woods to the old Hatfield home. Family. Her boys. Her everything. It would take epic courage to make this journey, to tiptoe across that threshold, to open her mouth, use her voice, and show her hand. Our Sally is a heroine ahead of her time, speaking truth to power; the consequences be damned.

Susanne Boulle

Director, Sally McCoy

Cast & Credits


Sally McCoy: Tricia Matthews

Devil Anse Hatfield: Michael Poisson

Valentine Hatfield, Anse’s Brother: Nicholas Piper

Johnse Hatfield, Anse’s Son: Shaan Sharma

Cap Hatfield, Anse’s Son: Rusty Allen

Rehearsal AssistantStage Manager: Victoria L. Sutton


Director: Susanne Boulle

Set Designer: Derek Smith

Original Music: Matt Martin

Costume Designer: Lee Martin

Lighting Designer: Camille Davis

Sound Designer: Tony Angelini

Scenic Designer: Kevin Dudley

Wig and Makeup Designer: Whitney Kaibel

Props Master: Helen Stratakes

Stage Manager: Sara Douglas

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