'The Wataugans" has a Madame for first time in cast

By Rozella Hardin
There's a new character in this year's Jubilee Performances of "The Wataugans." She's Wilamena Bosomworth -- a Madame, who is scorned by the ladies who live at Fort Watauga and nearby.
Wilamena Bosomworth is played by Kathie Dameron, who says she is a natural for the part. "I was Mrs. John Carter last year, so I've really gone to the extreme this year," said Dameron as she practiced smoking a pipe.
"It's a new part. I guess you could say Wilamena Bosomworth is a hooker. But, I love the part. Playing Mrs. Carter was a very serious part. I mean she was a very dignified woman, of the highest character. Wilamena allows me to have fun. I can make faces. I can flirt with the other men in the play, and even with the men in the audience. I was thrilled to be asked to play Wilamena," she said.
The part of Wilamena Bosomworth is new to the drama this year, and was written by director Jon Ruetz with Dameron in mind. "Kathie is such a fun character, and someone who likes to joke around," said Ruetz. "She's a natural for the part."
In Act I of the drama, Wilamena flaunts her new French heel shoes. "The other ladies give me all kinds of grief about my shoes," Dameron said.
A part of her costume is an apron with pockets. "If the pockets are out, it means I'm open for business. If they are tucked in, I'm closed," explained Dameron. "My dress is really gaudy."
"I have a 'meance' in the drama. Her name is Verbenia, and we constantly go at each other," Dameron said, describing bits and pieces of her character role.
She had a lot of lines to learn, but pretty much had them down to pat a week or so before opening night. "For two whole months, this drama is my life. We work for a month getting ready for the three weekends of performances. It's always a big letdown on the last night, not only because it is so much fun, but because of the people in the drama. They become just like family," she shared.
Originally from Pittsburgh, Pa., Dameron now lives in Jonesborough and was introduced to "The Wataugans," by a friend.
While Wilamena is the scorn of the women during most of the play, in the end, she earns their respect when she saves some of the women from an Indian agent who has gone rogue.
"The Wataugans" is in its second weekend of performances. Performances are scheduled tonight and Saturday at 7:30 in the amphitheatre at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area. Performances are also scheduled for July 24, 25 and 26.
As part of the Jubilee performances, State Senator Rusty Crowe and State Representative Jerome Cochran were cast in roles last evening playing business partners of Richard Henderson of the Transylvania Company.
"We're hoping for better weather this week," said Larry Blalock, president of the Watauga Historical Association. The opening night's performance was cut short by rain, and the Saturday night performance was completely rained out.
"The Wataugans," which is in its 25th year, is Tennessee's Official Outdoor Drama and is the longest-running outdoor drama in the state.