“The Noccalula Experience” play in Gadsden tells the story of a local historic legend

Local News
"The Noccalula Experience"

GADSDEN, Ala (WIAT) – “The Noccalula Experience” live-action play takes place at Noccalula Falls Park in Gadsden through July 7.

The play allows you to physically experience the legend of Noccalula in person. Brian Clowdus is the director of the play. Clowdus runs the Brian Clowdus Experience and produces immersive plays across the country. Clowdus says it was important for him to return home and tell the story of Noccalula.

“It’s not your typical play. You are on your feet the entire time,” said Clowdus. “Yes, it’s an experience it’s immersive. You follow the trail down the actors are on rocks around you. The actors are in the water. So it’s as if you’ve been catapulted into the legend of Noccalula on your feet and you’re following the action along the trails and gorge.”  

Clowdus says Native Americans had a major role in producing the play.

“We’ve put together an entire Native American team to help tell the story,” said Clowdus. “So the play is written by a Native American playwright. The music is composed by a Native American composer. The costumes are designed by a Native American costume designer. So it’s not only a celebration of the park, but it’s also a celebration of Native American stories which are few and far between. So we’re excited to have native voices help tell the story of a Native American woman.”

According to legend, Noccalula jumped off the waterfall to her death after her father told her she had to marry a man from another tribe to create peace. However, Noccalula was in love with someone else.

Sarah Elaine stars as ‘Noccalula’. Jonathan Varilla plays Noccalula’s love interest ‘Wa-ya’. Pedro Ka’Awaloa portrays Noccalula’s father. Phil Lopez stars as ‘Tsu-la’ the man Noccalula is to marry to form peace between warring tribes. 

The play is under one hour and is great for all ages. Benches are spread throughout the trails for those who need to rest during the play. The show will run through Sunday, July 7, every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at two, four, and six o’clock. 

To learn more about the play, click here.

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