BC Theatre Department Presented “Quilters.”
BC Theatre Department Presented “Quilters," a play that tells the stories of several women and thier quilts.
October 24, 2011
“Quilters,” a play that showcases the lives of women during the 1800s by tracing the threads of the quilts they sewed, has just completed its Bluefield College run. For the actors who played the quilters, it was a challenge they enjoyed.
|The cast of "Quilters."|
Della Limbert, a BC communications major and cast member, said she found the show to be different from any musical she had ever been in.
“The subject matter was more serious and made you think,” said Limbert. “It was about real life situations that you don’t think about. I really enjoyed it in the end.”
Written by Molly Newman and Barbara Damasheck and directed by Charles Reese, BC Associate Professor of Theatre Arts, “Quilters” goes through the general things the women had to do, like moving out west, having children, and getting married, and also the hard times that life threw at them, such as the loss of their husbands; natural disasters, like fires; work they had to do on the farm; and the complications of having children.
Throughout the play, Sarah, the mother of several daughters, is making her “Legacy Quilt,” which tells her stories of living life on the prairie. Each of the 18 quilt blocks represents a small piece of her overall story and life.
The first block, “Rocky Road,” tells the story of how the women were traveling out west.
“Day upon day, we moved out of the long stretch of gray and into the whiteness,” say all the quilters in the company.
The windmill block tells the story of how they would draw water from the dry desert by digging a well and making a windmill to pump the water from underground. It also gives advice on how to make the windmill quilt block by using straight-edge pieces because it has no circles in it.
“A funny thing about the windmill block is that there are no circles in it. Circles are harder to cut and sew than those straight-edge pieces,” says Sarah, who was played by BC theatre professor Rebecca McCoy-Reese.
In the late 1800’s, women were known to have anywhere between 10 and 20 children. The children were there to help with the house and farm work. One scene shows a midwife instead of a medical doctor helping to deliver a baby.
One of the major scenes in the play portrays the harder times the women experienced in the 1800s because having a baby then was more likely to result in death. This scene, called “secret drawer,” exposes the lengths that women had to go to in order to preserve their own lives because of the high risk of childbirth, and sometimes women had to find remedies to terminate pregnancies.
“Doctor Blake, please, this’ll be number 12 for Caleb and me, and I’m almost thirty-five years old…I’m scared for my life and the lives of my children if you don’t help me. Please Doctor Blake, I’m begging ‘ya now for relief,” says Mabel Louise, who was played by Courtney Dutton.
In the final scene, the mother, Sarah, has just died, and the daughters have finished putting the last touches on the “Legacy Quilt” that she was working on. During this scene, Sarah walks back on stage as her “Legacy Quilt” is brought up behind her and the cast, displaying the legacy that she has left behind in her daughters’ hearts. This 12-by-16-foot“Legacy Quilt” displays all of the quilt blocks.
“Give her the fruit of her hands and let her own works praise her in the gates,” says Sarah (McCoy-Reese)
In addition to McCoy-Reese. Limbert and Dutton, the cast for “Quilters” consisted of BC students Jennifer Bohannan, Sam Corker, Angel Hackney, Katherine Santschi, and Summer Wilding.
BC student career advocate Jennifer Bohannan said she found the play to be rewarding.
“Quilters was the hardest show I’ve ever done musically--and just the concept of the play, but because of that it was the most rewarding,” said Bohannan. “Especially the last week when the cast pulled it all together; it showed a lot about the talent of the cast.”
For Criminal Justice major Angel Hackney, “Quilters” was her first play.
“Being a part of Quilters was a great experience,” said Hackney. “I have always wanted to give acting a try and I am very glad Charles gave me that chance. It was very rewarding! It was a complicated show, but I enjoyed every minute of it! I look forward to auditioning for the next show and working with Rebecca and the rest of the cast again.”