The Reigning Belle of the Bluegrass Region

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Program Type:

History, Performance

Age Group:

Adults, Seniors
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Program Description

Event Details

Based on actual events, The Reigning Belle of the Bluegrass Region is the story of a Kentucky aristocrat, Olivia Buckner, who defied convention to marry a Japanese seminary student, Yutaka Minakuchi, in 1903 in Kentucky.  The play’s title — taken from a newspaper article written about her at the time–is meant to be ironic, as Olivia was the antithesis of a typical “reigning “belle.” Upon hearing of their engagement, the men in Olivia’s family held a meeting to discuss killing Yutaka to prevent the marriage. The couple fled Kentucky, but racism followed as they traveled the east coast where Yutaka lectured on the Chautauqua Circuit. Racial prejudice and financial pressures were part of life as they made a family with their half-Japanese son (father of the play's performer, Rose Buckner). Despite the challenges, Olivia embraced life with courage, humor, resilience, and love.

Rose Buckner's one-woman show runs just under 90 minutes and is followed by a Q&A. 


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