Loosely based on the founding of Appalachian State University, Hisself was commissioned for the University centennial and first performed in July 1999. The title refers to the school founder, Dr. B.B. Dougherty, played by ASU theatre professor Ed Pilkington. In the play, the title character hires two inspirational teachers, one to teach English and one to teach music. These characters are based on professors Cratis Williams, a beloved teacher of Linney’s, and Virginia Wary Linney, a local music teacher and relative of the playwright.
The play follows the lives and education of four young people. At the same time, the school’s history moves through its 100 year history, with the academy transformed from a school to a college and finally to a major regional university.
Linney’s great-grandfather U.S. Congressman Romulus Zachariah Linney I helped found Watauga Academy, which became Appalachian State University.