A Portion under the Sun is the story of Yeatman C. Alley, a Tennessee farm boy who uses his outstanding fiddle-playing to find his way off the family farm. Yeatman's story begins in 1899, when the nineteen-year-old is seeking to be free of his one-armed, Civil War veteran father and his mother who is less than happy being married to an ordinary farmer. His parents' fighting and the boredom of rural life are wearing on him.
Yeatman's chance to leave comes when he and his father go into Memphis to trade, and he outplays the fiddlers in a traveling act from New York (brother and sister, Theo and Sal Booth) but to accept their job offer he must desert the family farm and his ailing father. Before long, Yeatman is auditioning for a big theater troupe in New York City. Despite being refused a spot in the Weber and Fields Theater Company as a fiddler, because he cannot read music, Yeatman finds a place with the group doing any kind of work that he can. He quickly adapts to the big city theater lifestyle, and becomes a changed young man as his life twists and turns in ways that it never could have had he stayed on that Tennessee farm. A significant conflict is his romantic relationship with the charming but unstable Sally Booth. Highlights include Yeatman meeting Jack London.
This report prepared by Mark Schafron