HUNTINGTON — A Huntington native and Marshall University alumnus is taking a closer look at the meaning of home.
After graduating from Marshall with a degree in acting and directing, Brandon McCoy moved to Washington, D.C., where he has lived and written plays for 15 years. Now, his most recent work, “West By God,” is coming to Huntington this month for examination and entertainment for the folks it represents, West Virginians.
“I hope that when West Virginians see this play, they feel that I have represented them authentically and respectfully,” McCoy said.
“West By God” debuted at the Keegan Theatre in the nation’s capital this fall as part of the first KeeganConnects tour, now in West Virginia, designed to engage audience members in both D.C. and Appalachia in “a critical dialogue about perception and humanity.”
According to McCoy, “West By God” is “an examination of the meaning of home.” In a small town in the Appalachia region of the state, two different families grapple with issues of grief and love, memory and identity, and with the distance and time that both unite and divide generations.
He said “West By God” sets up an inquiry of Appalachians and the perception of West Virginia from an outsider’s point of view. He also said the play displays heartwarming, funny and hopeful themes.
“I wear being from West Virginia proudly on my sleeve,” he said.
As a self-proclaimed ambassador for the state, McCoy has taken notice of the misconceptions and hurtful ideas people across the country have of West Virginia and its people.
“If it’s not OK to do to other people, why is it OK to do to people from Appalachia or rural Americans or West Virginians?” he said.
Having moved away from his home state for some time, McCoy’s viewpoint about the meaning of home has been analyzed. He said he is aware of “areas of growth” and a need for an “expansion of thinking” but is resistant to allow a Hollywood portrayal of the state to be marginalizing and demeaning.
“I think the play does ask for an open mind, but it doesn’t necessarily say that anybody’s wrong,” McCoy said.
This is McCoy’s first run of his play in West Virginia. He said he is thrilled to come back home to share something that he wrote with the community he is so familiar with even though he is also somewhat apprehensive with nervousness. He also said it means a lot to him to have the opportunity to give back to the place that helped him get to where he is now.
“West By God” will be shown at Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards Playhouse five times this month, beginning Friday, Jan. 17, and with a special free performance the afternoon of Sunday, Jan. 19.
Tickets, which are $10, can be purchased at the box office at Joan C. Edwards Playhouse from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday or by calling 304-696-ARTS (2787). All showings are free to Marshall University students with a valid student ID.