"Real people with names and jobs and lives."
by Rod Belcher
The Vinton Messenger, Vinton, Virginia, January 23, 2003

That one line in Jeffrey Stanley's new play Medicine, Man speaks volumes about Stanley's affection for the Roanoke Valley and his understanding of her diverse denizens.

Medicine, Man, which premiered Tuesday night at the Mill Mountain Theatre, is the playwright's humorous, charming and extremely genuine story of real people we all know and some we wish we didn't.

Calvin Barker (Sean Hayden), an unabashed blue collar, beer swilling NASCAR fan with a "domestic partner" of six months named Alabama (Sarah Dandridge) and a sister Tracy (Sarah Yorra) who desperately wants to distance herself from her Roanoke roots, has the responsibility of his sick mother's life thrust into his hands.  Throw in Sue Morrison (Janelle Schremmer), a caustic doctor who is a northern transplant, money grubbing preacher Preacher Bobby (George Hosmer) who wields prayer like it was a gun, and a Cherokee medicine man named Swimmer (Bev Appleton) who walks through walls and you have the strange, yet oddly familiar world of Jeff Stanley's Roanoke.

It's a place where everyone claims to be "part Cherokee," has dined at the Texas Tavern and has roamed in the chicken wire flea market labyrinth that is Happy's.  In his play, Stanley has lovingly produced authentic characters, not caricatures, of Roanoke life.

Much of the depth and reality of the characters in Medicine, Man comes from terse lines and seemingly casual exchanges.

While Stanley's other projects take him to other places beyond the Roanoke Valley, it will be evident to anyone who views Medicine, Man that you can take the boy out of the mountains but you can never take the mountains out of the boy.