Feeding The ‘Wolves’: UA play a challenge for cast of young women

Feeding The ‘Wolves’: UA play a challenge for cast of young women
LARA JO HIGHTOWER/Special to the Free Weekly

On June 2 and 3, a huge field on the outskirts of Prairie Grove will hold the largest selection of open-air flea market booths in the Northwest Arkansas area. From polished antiques to funky vintage treasures to rusty farm finds, shoppers should be rewarded with just about anything they’re looking for at the Junk Ranch, which boasts 150 vendors and more than 200 booths.

We asked a few vendors what they’re bringing to the event, how they got involved in junking, and what their best find ever was.

Don Wilkinson

Don Wilkinson found his way to junking the way a lot of vendors do: he kept finding great stuff while shopping for his own collection of vintage Speas Vinegar bottles. So when he retired in his mid-50s after 35 years with the Arkansas Highway Department, he threw his hat into the flea market ring and got a booth at one of the largest flea markets in the country in Canton, Texas. After 10 years of selling at Canton, he moved up to an even bigger venue — Round Top, Texas, the Holy Grail of flea markets.

“It was a lot of work on my part,” he says. “We would haul seven or eight trailer loads down between shows, store them, and then we’d go down and set up and stay two weeks, selling. We sold to people from everywhere — California and everywhere. They got to buying from me, and they actually got to buying too much. It became too much of a job, and age took over.”

Wilkinson is 85 now, and he was thrilled when the Junk Ranch opened up so near his home in Mountainburg. Though the main product he sells are chicken laying houses — he estimates he’s sold around 30,000 over the course of his junking career — the booth he runs with his son is an eclectic mix of auction, estate and farm sale finds.

Wilkinson’s best find ever was deceptively simple: a box full of old bottle caps.

“I told my wife, ‘I found the Holy Grail,’” he remembers. “They were unused, cork-lined Dr Pepper bottle caps from 1907. The first bottle caps ever used on a Dr Pepper bottle.”

When he put them on eBay, he says, “people went crazy.”

Stacey Murphy

The Weathered Pearl

Stacey Murphy’s relationship with the Junk Ranch started off as a shopper.

“I loved the eclectic mix of old, used, collectible items and the vendor inspired pieces! I thought to myself, ‘I could do this,’” she recalls. “I applied the next year, and junk has been my livelihood ever since.”

Murphy advises yard sale shoppers to look for the signs with a torn piece of cardboard with the word “sale” scribbled across it as a marker.

“Often these sales are not advertised on social media, so it increases your chances of finding a hidden treasure,” she says.

She also hits the widely advertised sales, like the Oklahoma 100-mile Yard Sale. That’s where she found her favorite find: a 13-foot late 1800s banquet table discovered in a barn in Cleveland, Okla.

“I have done several shows all over Oklahoma and Arkansas, and I would say what sets the Junk Ranch apart from the others is the venue itself, the friendly vendors, the amazing shoppers, but most of all how well [Junk Ranch founders] Amy [Daniels] and Julie [Speed] have it organized,” Murphy says.

Tracy Davis

Rusty Heart Relics

“I have always loved old things as long as I can remember,” says Tracy Davis of Rusty Heart Relics. “My mama had an eye for the ornate and passed it along to me. We spent many a weekend traveling the roads for that elusive treasure.”

For her booth, she stocks a wide variety of items.

“I love vintage and antique garden items, primitive and antique furniture, and holiday decor,” she says. “I loved MCM before it was cool.”

Her favorite find is an antique child’s bedroom suite she found at the famed Texas flea market Round Top.

“It is a beautiful faded robin’s egg blue with a painted design, and it’s to die for,” she says.

Davis has had a love affair with the Junk Ranch since the first year.

“From the live music and food trucks to the mountains of treasures and lovely vendors, I knew this was the show that I wanted to be a part of,” she says. “Amy and Julie are the best and treat us like family.”



Junk Ranch

WHEN — 9 a.m.-3 pm. June 2; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. June 3; tickets go on sale at 8 a.m.

WHERE — 11195 Centerpoint Church Road in Prairie Grove

COST — $10

INFO — thejunkranch.net

Playwright Sarah DeLappe’s play “The Wolves” is, ostensibly, a play about high school girls playing soccer: The audience eavesdrops on seemingly mundane conversations held over practice sessions. Insults are hurled, alliances are made (and broken), and these athletic teenage girls speak in a language that’s all their own. Five or ten minutes in, however, it becomes obvious: There is a lot going on here.

“I see this play as a play about survival,” says Kate Frank, director of the University of Arkansas production on stage this weekend. “It is a tightly written, dark comedy about adolescent female athletes growing up in 21st century America.”

As the play progresses, it becomes clear why the playwright chose this particular title.

“In our bird’s-eye view as an audience, we are invited to witness spontaneous, unfiltered conversations about whatever is exciting or disturbing them on that particular day,” explains Frank. “They gossip and lament over wide-ranging topics, from their social studies class, where they are learning about genocide, to the scary and uncomfortable changes that are taking place in their own bodies. During this most perilous phase of their development in life, these teen girls find strength in bonding together as a ‘pack,’ rallying their fierceness and wildness through the game of soccer in order to survive and win.”

Most of the girls have known each other since childhood, though a newcomer gives us a glimpse of what it’s like to try and infiltrate the group. DeLappe’s dialogue is rapid fire, full of colloquial language, and both hilarious and heartbreaking by turns. Frank calls the language “hyper realistic” — and as it would be with any group of teenagers, pay attention, because the action moves quickly, and you won’t want to miss a thing.

The cast of 10 women — all playing high school students, except in one role — seems an ideal choice for a university production, and, indeed, Frank says the play has been a hit with the cast.

Sarah DeLappe’s play “The Wolves” was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2017. Chicago Tribune critic Chris Jones called it “a formidably precise piece of observational writing.” Charlotte Stover plays No. 00 in the University Theatre production that opens this weekend. (Courtesy Photo/Ash Micheel)

“The actors in the show have expressed that they love that the play is high-energy and very physical,” she notes. “They’ve mentioned that it has been a strong bonding experience and that the show deals with very serious, real-life problems.

“The play is an exciting choice for our students, providing many roles to young women in our program , and an opportunity to work on a contemporary play by a promising young female playwright,” she continues. “The play also demands strong physical preparation and training that is ideal for young actors.”

This will be the University Theatre’s second live production since its stages went dark starting in March 2020 due to the global pandemic. Last month’s “Love’s Labours Lost” was performed in the miniature Greek theatre right outside the Fine Arts Building.

“It is interesting to note that there are 10 roles altogether,” says Frank. “Of those 10, at least half are played by freshmen and sophomores. These young actors spent either their senior year in high school or their freshman year in college on Zoom! Needless to say, they are ecstatic to be working in this live production, and they are all so grateful to have this opportunity.”



‘The Wolves’

WHEN — 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3-6 and 2 p.m. Nov. 7

WHERE — Global Campus Black Box Theater in Fayetteville

COST — Free, but tickets must be reserved online

INFO — uark.universitytickets.com or 575-4752

Categories: Theater