NEWSPAPER: A Personal Performance in Wytheville

Published: March 02, 2012

A personal performance in Wytheville

By WAYNE QUESENBERRY/Staff

Lindaleigh Portner and Vickie “Mack” Coble have been friends as long as they can remember. To honor Coble, who has breast cancer and liver disease, Portner is planning a fitting tribute.

She has arranged for actress/playwright Anita Shontel Woodley to bring her one-woman play, “Mama Juggs,” to the Hedgefield Community Room in Wytheville on Saturday, March 10, for a 7:30 p.m. show. Portner is using her “rainy day money” to back the performance and pay for Woodley’s overnight stay.

Woodley uses inspiration from true stories in her life for the performance. She confronts issues of women’s breast health and body image from puberty to maturity to old age.

“So many times people do things in memory of a loved one,” Portner said earlier this week. “I wanted to do something for Vickie while she’s still living. This is going to be a celebration and done in her honor.”

According to Portner, she first met Woodley on Facebook several years ago and did a radio interview with her at the University of North Carolina on another issue. Portner also saw a posting of Woodley’s “Mama Juggs” performances and ordered a CD.

“Oh, I loved it,” Portner said. “It’s a show you’ll never forget. We’re going to have a ball.”

Portner also noted it took two years for Woodley to arrange the Wytheville performance.

In a phone interview this week, Woodley said, “I can’t wait. I’m so excited about coming to Wytheville. This is such an honor.”

Based in Chapel Hill, N.C., Woodley is an actress, writer, director, visual artist and journalist. She has won numerous awards from the Harry Chapin Foundation for Hunger & Poverty and an Emmy with CNN News for exceptional coverage on Sept. 11, 2001.

Woodley said she wrote “Mama Juggs” as a promise to her mother, who died of breast cancer at age 47, to challenge cultural taboos and stereotypes surrounding breast health and body image. In 2010, she was invited to bring her play to the University of Yaoundé’ in Cameroon, Africa.

Seating for the Wytheville performance is limited. Some tickets are still available by calling Portner at 228-5242.

Advance tickets are $15 and $20 at the door. Reserved seating is $25 in advance and $35 at the door.

Wayne Quesenberry can be reached at 228-6611 or wquesenberry@wythenews.com.

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