‘Quil­ters’ brings laughs and tears,

The Covington News - - Front page - Colleen Jack­son is a guest colum­nist for The News and works at Ge­or­gia Pied­mont Tech­ni­cal Col­lege.

The aroma of but­tery pop­corn, ac­com­pa­nied by smiles and warm hel­los from So­cial Circle Theater staff, wel­comed guests from Wal­ton, Clarke, New­ton, Rock­dale and sur­round­ing coun­ties as they poured in to see the Aug. 12, Satur­day af­ter­noon per­for­mance of “Quil­ters,” a his­tor­i­cal mu­si­cal writ­ten by Molly New­man and Bar­bara Da­mashek.

Inside the theater, a time­less col­lec­tion of beau­ti­ful quilts made of scraps, fine cot­tons and silks dat­ing back to circa 1860 pro­vided col­or­ful con­ver­sa­tion pieces.

“The sto­ries are taken from the jour­nals of a pi­o­neer woman and her daugh­ters,” said pro­ducer Beth Wells. “Quil­ters blends a se­ries of in­ter­re­lated scenes into a rich mo­saic which cap­tures the beauty, the ter­ror and joy, the harsh chal­lenges and abid­ing re­wards of the fron­tier life and the script helps to pre­serve the his­tory of our coun­try.”

Quil­ters, di­rected by Tyson White and Cindi Hall, pays trib­ute to the courage and spirit of Amer­ica’s pi­o­neer women who sur­vived in spite of ad­ver­sity. The script is di­vided into 16 sec­tions or blocks that rep­re­sent a part of their lives such as child­birth, school days, courtship, wed­dings, etc.

The nine-mem­ber women cast played by Cather­ine and Dotti Craig, Patsy Eg­gers, Lanier Forster, Sab­rina Moss Joyner, Caitlin Melvin, Jill Alpert Miller, Su­san Wheeler and Sarah Wil­liams were per­sua­sive in de­liv­er­ing the scenes as if they had per­son­ally lived each one. “All the male roles you saw me play tonight were orig­i­nally played by women in the cast,” said White. “I per­son­ally be­lieved that wasn’t fair to the script. It made cer­tain scenes that should have been re­ally beau­ti­ful, seem com­i­cal. So I changed that.” Tagged by his cast as a fan­tas­tic di­rec­tor and mo­ti­va­tor, White au­then­ti­cated the sto­ries and de­liv­ered an af­ter­noon of qual­ity en­ter­tain­ment — one that will not be for­got­ten in the So­cial Circle community.

Quil­ters tran­scends gen­er­a­tions of women who all have the same needs, de­sires and dreams. The sto­ries helped me to un­der­stand my­self bet­ter and re­vived a need to jour­nal my own fam­ily his­tory and community.

The cast al­lowed the au­di­ence to ex­pe­ri­ence emo­tions of pas­sion, laugh­ter and joy while at times we sat very still and silent as the sto­ries of sad­ness and hard­ships un­folded, re­mind­ing us of our own needs to sur­vive and con­quer ad­ver­si­ties.

Mu­si­cal di­rec­tor Cindi Hall said the songs speak to the story — very en­ter­tain­ing and dra­matic. “For them to ask me to take on this is a huge re­spon­si­bil­ity and an honor. Theater is foun­da­tional in this community.” Hall comes from a long line of quil­ters from her mother to great grand­mother. The cast de­scribed Hall as tal­ented, pos­i­tive and en­cour­ag­ing — mak­ing sure they had ev­ery­thing they needed to suc­ceed in­clud­ing CDs of all the vo­cals.

Pi­anist and ac­com­pa­nist Bill De­laune did an ex­cel­lent job. Hall said she would not have at­tempted this pro­duc­tion with­out him. “He has a way of know­ing what sounds to put where.”

If you agree that women are un­sung heroes, make plans to at­tend the Aug. 16 and 17 per­for­mances at 7 p.m. or the 3 p.m. mati­nee on Aug. 18. Ms. Patsy said it’s go­ing to be a blowout — get your tick­ets early. The So­cial Circle Theater is lo­cated at 650 Ash­ley Drive, So­cial Circle, call, (770) 464-2269 or visit so­cial­cir­clethe­ater.com.

See “Quil­ters” this week­end at 3 or 7p.m. in So­cial Circle.

COLLEEN JACK­SON

GUEST COLUM­NIST

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