Legacy. Tradition. Remembrance. Activism. Folk. There Ain’t No More! touches on all these themes and then some. In this one-man play, performer Willi Carlisle uses a guitar, harmonica, banjo, accordion, and fiddle to tell a story through one of America’s oldest art forms. It’s touching, it’s hilarious, and it’s (somewhat) redemptive.
Carlisle performs deftly on each instrument as he literally puts on different faces while playing an aged folk singer at the end of his life, recounting a lifetime of love, loss, war, activism, and most of all, music. There Ain’t No More! is certainly well written and even better performed. As a performer, Carlisle takes us through his character’s life in a way that in many ways evokes the late Robin Williams–he’s tragically funny, funnily tragic, and above all, he’s supremely entertaining.
There Ain’t No More! is a hillbilly epic told in 60 minutes. It reminds us that we all want to be remembered, and as he puts it, we’d all like to “negotiate the terms of [our] disappearance.”