On Aug. 19th in Raleigh, Stuff You Missed in History Class Shined a Light on Provocative 19th-Century Travel Writer Anne Royall

Tracy V. Wilson (left) and Holly Frey host the Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast (photo by John Fulton)
Tracy V. Wilson (left) and Holly Frey host the Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast (photo by John Fulton)
Tracy V. Wilson (left) and Holly Frey host the <em>Stuff You Missed in History Class</em> podcast (photo by John Fulton)
Tracy V. Wilson (left) and Holly Frey host the Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast (photo by John Fulton)

On Sunday evening, Aug. 19th, we had the good fortune of attending a live show of Stuff You Missed in History Class (SYMHC), presented by Bob Nocek Presents LLC, in the A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh, NC. Like many such shows, this live show was recorded for a podcast.

SYMHC is a podcast that “takes a look at lesser-known historical people and events, with new episodes every Monday and Wednesday.” The hosts are Tracy V. Wilson and Holly Frey, both of whom have a love of history that we could best describe as “infectious.” That is, in addition to enjoying the immediate experience, we found ourselves thirsting for more — more podcasts and more information.

One fringe benefit of attending a live SYMHC show is the preshow chit-chat that the two hosts engage in. These two spoke to us with a familiarity with which one might address a room full of old friends, thereby making the experience feel like “an informative conversation” — a very enjoyable way of gaining new knowledge.

After several minutes of this casual breaking of the ice, Wilson asked, “Who wants to hear a podcast?” And the audience burst into applause, and the two began.

The subject of Sunday night’s show was Anne Royall (1769-1854), the first female “travel writer,” who eventually became publisher and editor of her own newspaper. Wilson and Frey shared information in a kind of “tag-team” style, taking turns as each spoke for no more than a few minutes at a time. This strategy has a twofold advantage — neither speaker ever gets tired, and the audience never tires of either voice.

Both women lace their narrative sections with plenty of humor and wit, thereby enhancing their own enjoyment as well as that of their listeners. We left the event feeling as though we had made three new friends — our hosts and their subject.

As they spoke about Anne Royall, they included more than just factual information about her; their anecdotes painted, in broad strokes, the times in which she lived. For example, who ever heard of a prosecution (in a United States court!) in which the accused’s “crime” is being “a common scold”? And could any of us ever have imagined that a federal court would levy a punishment known as “dunking“?!?

Wilson and Frey also shared bits of lore about Royall which, while once widely believed, cannot be proven and are now assumed, simply, to be legends. Chief among these is the (probably false) story of her coercing John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) into consenting to granting an interview by sitting on his clothes, refusing to let him have them when he wished to conclude his naked swim in the Potomac River.

At two points in the evening, we were told: “This is a point when the actual podcast will have a commercial.” During these intervals the hosts once again engaged in jovial chit-chat, keeping us entertained and relaxed.

At the end of the evening, there was a Q&A session in which several audience members, in addition to asking insightful questions, thanked the pair for such things as “making sure we have variety” in our information and for “sharing information that is not commonly known.”

And the audience burst in applause again at the end when they announced that “Soon it will be October, and we will be doing spooky shows.” For a list of upcoming tour stops, click here.

If you are already a fan of SYMHC podcasts, we highly recommend catching one of their live shows when they are in your neck of the woods. If you have never listened to Wilson and Frey doing Stuff You Missed in History Class, you are missing out — get busy! Their hundreds of podcasts can be found here.

STUFF YOU MISSED IN HISTORY CLASS, hosted by Tracy V. Wilson and Holly Frey (Bob Nocek Presents, Aug. 19 in A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater in Raleigh, NC).

SHOW: http://www.dukeenergycenterraleigh.com/event/stuff-you-missed-in-history-class-bob-nocek-presents-10003, https://www.bnpresents.com/news/2018/6/18/stuff-you-missed-in-history-class-podcast-comes-to-raleigh-for-a-live-show-on-august-19, and https://www.facebook.com/events/247710565959199/.

PODCAST AUDIO: https://www.missedinhistory.com/podcasts.

PRESENTER: http://www.bnpresents.com/, https://www.facebook.com/bnpresents/, and https://twitter.com/bnpresents.

VENUE: http://www.dukeenergycenterraleigh.com/venue/fletcher-opera-theater.


Stuff You Missed in History Class (podcast): https://www.missedinhistory.com/ (official website), https://www.facebook.com/MissedInHistory (Facebook page), https://twitter.com/MissedinHistory (Twitter page), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HowStuffWorks#Podcasts (Wikipedia), and https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcOZPUZWCGBFwMjRFN4lTvg. (YouTube Channel).



A native of North Carolina, Yvette L. Holder has studied theater at three institutions: the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute (New York), and N.C. Central University, where she received a BA in Dramatic Arts. Yvette also promotes and produces comedy theater, as well as working with playwrights around the country during the development stage of their work. She hosts a monthly play reading session: “Sips and Scripts” at Imurj in downtown Raleigh. Kurt Benrud is a graduate of Cary High School and N.C. State University, and he has taught English at both. He first became involved in local theater in 1980. He has served on the board of directors for both the Cary Players and the Cary Playwrights’ Forum. He is also a volunteer reader with Triangle Radio Reading Service. Click here to read Yvette and Kurt’s reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.