"Hard Times Blues," a new play inspired by the life of Virginia Tech's first mascot, Floyd "Hard Times" Meade, will premier this month with performances in Roanoke and Blacksburg. The play is a poignant, dramatic presentation of historical fiction accompanied by live music.
In 1896, Meade began entertaining spectators at sporting events at the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute, as Virginia Tech was known then. By 1907, the Tech employee was so popular that athletic teams adopted him as their official mascot. In 1913, after Tech athletic teams had begun to be known as the "Gobblers," Meade started taking a huge turkey gobbler to games. He trained the bird to flap its wings and gobble on command.
This entertaining man left a lasting legacy at Virginia Tech and in the surrounding community. He continued the turkey tradition he had established until 1929, when it was passed to another Virginia Tech employee.
Playwright Lucy Sweeney developed the play about Meade in collaboration with Marshal B. McAden, director; William Penn, musical coordinator; The Dumas Theatre Troupe of Roanoke; and other talented theatre artists. Sponsored by Cooper House and Dumas Theatre in Roanoke, the play will be performed at the Lyric Theatre in Blacksburg for only three performances, on Friday, Feb. 14, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 15, at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb. 16, at 3 p.m. The play made its debut in Roanoke at the Dumas on Feb. 6.
Tickets, which cost $12 for general admission and $8 for students and children, are available at the Record Exchange in downtown Blacksburg, Printer's Ink at University Mall, Cooper House at 305 Washington St., and the Lyric Theatre in downtown Blacksburg. Additional information is available at (540)552-2473 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Blacksburg performances are part of Virginia Tech's Black History Month celebration. Information on other events is available online at http://www.mcp.vt.edu/calendars/bhm2003.shtml.