LOGAN - West Virginia is replete with history: John Brown's raid on the armory at Harper's Ferry, site of the first land battle of the Civil War in Philippi, birthplace of Stonewall Jackson and Abraham Lincoln's mother, Mary Hanks.
But, arguably, no other chapter in West Virginia's rich history is more pervasive or enduring than her role in the Hatfield and McCoy feud.
Often referred to as the Hatfield and McCoy War, the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River which connects Pike County, Kentucky, and Mingo County (then part of Logan County), West Virginia, served as the battleground between the two families.
This summer, the past is set to repeat itself on the Liz Spurlock Amphitheatre stage in Chief Logan State Park when The Aracoma Story, Inc., in conjunction with the Hatfield and McCoy Convention and Visitors Bureau, presents a dramatic retelling of the famous feud in "Deadly Divide: The Hatfield & McCoy Story."
The original stage play was written by TAS, Inc., alum Geoff Allen, a native West Virginian and former Logan resident who spent a year penning the script. Allen spent countless hours researching and cross-referencing all known facts about the feud in order to present the truest possible version of the dramatic, violent and often surprisingly touching tale.
"I took no sides," Allen said. "I took my obligation to tell the truth of the story quite seriously."
The verdict, according to early screeners of the script, is that Allen did indeed deliver an honest depiction of the totality of the feud.
"We've wanted to produce a Hatfield and McCoy show for years but couldn't find the right script until now," said longtime TAS, Inc., director Bill France.
Allen and France, besides being performers in many past TAS, Inc., productions, share another bond: They collaborated on the well-received refreshed version of "The Aracoma Story" with "The Aracoma Story, Spirits and Legends," which enjoyed critical acclaim from 2009-2011. The goal was to reinvent the show without taking away anything that people know and love about the original production.
"Geoff and I work very well together," France said. "He knows how to write for performers, audiences and directors."
France's vision for "Deadly Divide" promises audiences quite an experience.
"I want the show to be like a big epic 3-D movie that actually puts you in the film. The show is historical, but it never forgets that being entertainment is the top priority," he said. " 'Deadly Divide' has every emotion. It's packed with gunfire, burning buildings, stabbing and fighting. There's also love, dancing, sorrow and loss. Nothing is left out."
The outdoor drama will be presented at 8:30 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays, July 11-14, July 18-21 and July 25-28.
Tickets are available at www.bownpapertickets.com, Gatti's Pizza at the Fountain Place Mall, Pic Pac at Man, Aracoma Drug in Chapmanville and Chief Logan Conference Center.
For more information call The Aracoma Story Inc. office at 304-752-0253 or visit their Facebook page.