'Quilters' is a patchwork of emotions and memories

Published on Wednesday, November 12, 2014

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'Quilters' is a patchwork of emotions and memories

Enlarge photo

Enlarge photo

“Quilters,” like the handmade treasures that form the backdrop of the show, is a patchwork of emotions and memories.

Pieced together from the diaries of pioneer women, this musical history blends laughter, tragedy, childhood, love, faith, and hard work.

Now these true stories are brought to life at North Greenville University by an all-female cast of students and faculty.

Dale Savidge, director, said this was his first encounter with “Quilters.”  “This play was suggested by Amy Dunlap, who’s playing the lead in it, because she’s performed it before.  Bess (Park, scenic and light designer) has directed it before.  So what drew me to it was their enthusiasm to do it.”

This performance is Dunlap’s third, and she said, “Each time I do it, I have more life experience to draw from and more perspective about what the Sarah character goes through as she ages through the course of the play.”

Dunlap also commented on the many fellow actresses she’s worked with, saying, “Each cast is different.  Each one brings its own peculiarities and talents and quirks.  It’s been a great joy to work with this cast.”

“The biggest challenge,” said Savidge, “is that we’re doing it in arena (audience on all sides), and the play is written to be done on a proscenium stage (audience on one side).  So the arena with an orchestra on one side of the stage created a number of challenges for the actors to interact with the orchestra, with the audience, and with each other.”

The bare arena stage definitely adds to the show, however, creating a feeling of both the open space of the prairies and the intimacy of pioneer life.

Moreover, the authentic Midwestern instruments of the orchestra and the beautiful harmonies of the actresses immerse the audience in the culture of the time. 

With emotional performances and an old-fashioned atmosphere, this is a show well worth the price of admission and one that, as Savidge hopes, will leave audiences with “a real deep appreciation for the joy, for the suffering, for the challenges, and for their fortitude.”

 Quilters” runs Nov. 13-15 and 20-22.  Shows start at 7:30 each night.  Tickets are $5 for students and $8 for adults.






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