The Iron Mountain Review Vol. XXXII

26 Gipe, Mullinax, Stanley, & Turpin

They had killed and set a sheriff ’s candidate on fire in his truck in Pathfork. This was the context in which we started doing this talking. One of the reasons we started doing theatre was we didn’t think anyone would care. We thought we could talk about anything and get our rocks off about it, and nobody would notice because we were doing art. This was going to be a safe place for us to talk about these things that needed to be talked about. So there’s that. I think another thing that needs to be emphasized is the importance of Appalshop, which has been underplayed as an institution within this mix. The first full-time job I ever had was when I went to Appalshop in 1989. I think the most important thing about Appalshop from what

we’ve been able to do is the idea that you were there for the long haul. Regardless of how many film festivals in Denmark you went to or how many performances you did in New York, this place in Appalachia is what your zip code was and where you went to the grocery store. And what community you did that work in was the coalfields, and who, in a thousand undefinable ways, you were accountable to, even if they never saw one of those movies, even if they never came to one of your plays, because that was who you walked among, that was who your children had to answer to when they went out.

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