Something New at Overnight Sensations

Amanda Mansfield (from left), Gwenyth Strope, Taylor Cobb and Mikayla Cohen in Sarah Smith’s “All’s Fair in Love and Libraries”

Overnight Sensations, the Mill Mountain Theatre/Hollins University summer collaboration, has been pretty stagnant for its 13 years, though that does not imply it has been uninteresting. That changed last night.The group of six 10-minute play-ettes, written, rehearsed and presented in 24 hours, took a turn toward sophistication.

My date and me ready for a night of theatre.

The first change I noticed was that the orchestra pit was open for the spare staging of these works. That hadn’t been done before. There was music. Writers wrote in more props, which have always been at a very minimum. And there was simply a lot more going on in general.

It made for a delightful evening, one stolen–as usual–by writers Ben Williams and Dwayne Yancey, who were strongly challenged for the best play by David Beach, Amy Lytle, Becky Becker and Sarah K. Smith.

The nearly-filled auditorium was alive with laughter, often loud and prolonged.

The premise here is to give the writers prompts, say “children’s theater set in a boarding house” and a line that must be used during the course of the play (“How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child,” for example).

I normally spend some of my Overnight Sensations evening on stage, but my grandgirl is in town for a visit, so we went as spectators. Maddie, who is 14, spent the night all but rolling in the aisles. She’s a big fan of this night. And so am I.

And a Baseball Game Was Played, Too

The crowd was big, colorful and enthusiastic in Lynchburg.

The Hillcats’ uniforms (modeled here by a couple of employees, were delightful.

My grandgirl Madeline, friend Susan and I went over to Lynchburg last night for a 4th of July baseball game/celebration and despite thunderstorms swirling around the area, wound up having a bang-up time.

The Lynchburg Hillcats of the Carolina League dolled themselves up in red-white-blue uniforms that featured a copy of the Declaration of Independence. Lynchburg always has great uniforms (except when they wear those god-awful military camos), but these were more than appropriate for the occasion and fit in with the crowd’s jubilant mood and color scheme. The team itself lost 6-0, but nobody seemed to notice. They were all impatiently awaiting the brief fireworks show that followed the game, which started late (with a rain delay) and ended later.

Fireworks followed.

It’s a good little park, though, less than half the size of the Salem Red Sox park where we usually go. Salem’s game was rained out, but it was scheduled at 3 p.m., hardly an inviting time on July 4.

Here is some of what we saw in Lynchburg.

Plenty of autographs were given out.

This young guy was more enthusiastic than he seemed.

This little sweetie was celebrating her second birthday.

Musical chairs got rowdy.

Twins.

The field was decked out for the 4th.

Legal Hemp Among Best New Laws in Va.

Lilyhemp in Vinton grows its own hemp.

As of July 1 (yesterday) we are living under some new laws in Virginia. When the General Assembly takes new actions, they most often apply in the summer following the session when they were passed.

Among the most important–to my way of seeing things–is a new attitude toward hemp, an agricultural product of immense value that has been directly and unfairly linked with recreational marijuana for many years. The value of hemp has been demonstrated over and over, but legislatures have been hesitant to legalize it because of its association with pot.

The Virginia Mercury reports, “The financial implications are huge, especially for southern Virginia farmers already cultivating tobacco, which requires much of the same infrastructure (curing barns, anyone?) and soil conditions as hemp.” Donald Trump’s tariff threats are giving Virginia tobacco farmers uncertainty and hemp can help solve that dilemma and get some tobacco off the market. Says the Mercury: hemp “can net anywhere from $4,000 to $20,000 per acre, compared to $800 to $1,000 from tobacco.”

Here is the Mercury’s more complete report.

Otherwise, there’s plenty to consider. Below is Del. Adam Eban’s synopsis.

Driving
  • Drivers’ licenses will no longer be suspended solely for nonpayment of court fines and fees. The licenses of 627,000 Virginians that are currently suspended for nonpayment will be restored.
  • You will not be allowed to talk on your cell phone in road work zones.
  • Courts can now dismiss a summons issued for an expired vehicle registration if a defendant can provide proof of compliance prior to their court date.
  • Localities are now authorized to regulate the operation of electric scooters.
Education
  • Local school systems are now allowed to start school up to two weeks prior to Labor Day.
  • There is a new education grant program has been established that should help generate 25,000 graduates in technology.
Smoking
  • The legal age has risen from 18 to 21 (except for military personnel, who apparently don’t find smoking unhealthy).
Sexual Assault
  • Employers will no longer be allowed to require employees to sign nondisclosure agreements that forbid the worker from sharing details of sexual assault claims.
Elections
  • Starting in the 2020 general election, voters may cast their ballot up to 10 days before election day without any excuse.

You can get a more detailed look at Virginia’s new laws here.