Sunday, October 30th at 7 pm
The Battle of Chickamauga
& The Guide's Guide to Lawnfield
Readings of Two One-Act Plays
By Faye Sholiton
Directed by Martin Friedman
Americans remain fascinated by events surrounding the Civil War and its aftermath. Two “period pieces” – one about a foolish soldier, the other about a beloved President – illustrate the dire consequences of a house divided.
Running Time: Approximately 90 minutes
THE BATTLE OF CHICKAMAUGA cast:
Aaron Elersich (Edmund)
Rachel Lee Kolis(Mary)
Lindsey Mitchell* (Barbara)
Brian Pedaci(Stage Directions)
THE GUIDE'S GUIDE TO LAWNFIELD cast:
Aaron Elersich(Stage Directions)
*Member, AEA, appears courtesy of Actors' Equity Association.
I wrote The Guide's Guide to Lawnfield as a commissioned work, one designed to tour Northeast Ohio schools and community groups. Along the way, I became quite taken by this public servant who truly lived his beliefs. He had a sharp intellect and an uncanny ability to reinvent himself for almost any eventuality. There was only one force more powerful than his will: the state of our fractured union in 1881. I couldn't help noticing that what Garfield endured in the 19th century has particular resonance for us tonight.
My Chickamauga play - an odd companion piece perhaps - was inspired by a chance encounter with Civil War re-enactors about 15 years ago. I was particularly impressed by the participants' full-out commitment to this rather unusual fantasy camp. People from all walks of life gave up multiple weekends to be "sacrificed" on a mock battlefield. One fellow, I learned, was an ophthalmologist with a 19th century battlefield chippie. If that wasn't a play, then I didn't know what was.
Underlying both pieces is a serious theme: War is no game. Political division without serious dialogue easily turns to mutual destruction. And pretending otherwise is dangerous.
Special thanks to my cast, to Lakeland Community College, and to Allan Peskin, who not only wrote the book about Garfield, but spent time making sure I didn't stray too far from the historical truth.