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Posted: August 16, 2012 9:12 p.m.

‘Quilters’ preserves our history

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.

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

 

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