The time is November 1946, a year after the end of WWII. The place, a small Episcopal boarding school for girls in Eastern Canada. The Six girls (13-14) who share Dormitory 6, practice and compete for parts in Miss Miller’s Miracle Play (a Nativity play from the Middle Ages.) One of the girls is Sonja Weissman, newly arrived from Europe, and speaks little English. In spite of this, she tries out and earns the part of the third shepherd.
There’s something mysterious about Sonja…and the others try and figure her out. This was in an era where there were no therapy sessions or honest explanations by the teachers in the school. Resentment and curiosity builds among all the girls involved in the play. Some believe that a Jewish girl should not participate in a Christian play.
But Sonja reveals her strong character, her talent as an actress, and as her English improves, her personal story. The play and each girl’s truth ultimately bring them together in a more compassionate understanding of each other.
Synopsis of the Play:
In 1929, the spirit of Josiah Royce (1855-1916) visits Royce Hall on the UCLA campus 3 days before its inauguration. He is prompted by a chance encounter with a young student to look back on his life in Grass Valley during the years of 1862-1866. The young Josiah lived with his mother, Sarah Royce, and 3 older sisters on a farm just outside the notoriously wild mining community. The father was mainly away during this period running a mercantile in Virginia City, Nevada. The play intertwines the Grass Valley events and eventual thought of the mature Josiah Royce who rose to eminence as an internationally known philosopher and chair of the Philosophy department at Harvard for 37 years. In the last scene, the young UCLA student visits Katherine Royce (Royce’s widow) in Cambridge In an effort to get some important questions answered about the spirit he encountered outside Royce Hall.
The staged reading, directed by Dinah Smith, is a work in progress. Ideas and questions from the actors, the director, and family members of the cast have been received and considered gratefully by the playwright, Robin Wallace. She would like to acknowledge especially Dinah Smith, (playing Katherine Royce), Marion Jeffery (playing Sarah Royce), John Bush (Josiah Royce, the spirit), and Camille Collings (Mary Eleanor Royce.)
The other characters are played by local young actors: Orion Molaro (young Josiah), Jozi Gullickson (Ruth Royce), Amalia Drummet (Hattie Royce), Patrick Moore ( Josiah Royce Sr, the father), and Graham Collings (the young UCLA student).
TWO NEW PLAYS AT THIS YEAR’S NUGGET FRINGE FESTIVAL
“What the hell is going on here?” a character named Sandra demands in “THE TEA ROSE ROOM,” one of the two dark comedies by local playwright, Robin Wallace. Along with “THIS TERMINATION THING,” these two new plays will be among the performances not to be missed at this year’s Nugget Fringe Festival. Both plays, under the joint heading, “CROSSROADS, ”are directed by Dinah Smith.
Wild, weird, refreshing, experimental, off-the-wall, innovative and fearless are all words that have been used to describe The Nugget Fringe Festival, January 21 - 31, 2015 in Grass Valley and Nevada City. This year’s lineup continues where last year’s festival left off, with an unparalleled cross section of Nevada County’s finest actors and experimenters.
“THE TEA ROSE ROOM” features local actors, Rene Sprattling, Joyce Miller, Keith Porter, Sam Mills, and Elliot Childs. The play examines the choices one has to make when choice is at least still possible. “Everyone has to be somewhere,” another character says consolingly. Another reveals, “I actually found this place while driving around. Saw the sign, ‘No Place Like Home!’”
The second dark comedy, “THIS TERMINATION THING,” is only 10 minutes. It’s the actual length of an argument David and Jill have while parked in their car before making a momentous decision that will impact the rest of their lives. The characters are played by local actors, Lindsay Dunckel and Brian Arnold.
THE TEA ROSE ROOM One Act Play Synopsis of the Play
In the beautiful Gold Rush area of N. California sits a large old Victorian style farm house. It is now a board and care home accommodating 6-8 elderly ambulatory and non-ambulatory residents. The play takes place in the cozy sitting/dining area. At opening three residents, Mrs. Church, Hank Keating and Wallace Belcher are involved in their usual morning activities of another “same old day.” Rosario sets the lunch table with a certain Mexican flare. A phone call from the manager, Melody, alerts him to the fact that she will not be there for lunch and he is to welcome the new lady and make her feel at home. Rosario is more than willing and capable and he lets the residents know that a first good impression is required.
The new lady, Sandra Walser, arrives, stylishly dressed and pushing her walker. She is initially confused that the place does not look like a restaurant where her son, Tommy, supposedly made lunch reservations. She is introduced to the others and polite conversation ensues. But she gradually gets concerned that her son is taking a long time to park the car and join them. In fact he never joins them, and by the time Rosario calls them to lunch she is in full agitated confusion and anger about what is actually happening to her. That she is expected to move into “The Tea Rose Room.”
Sandra tries to save face in the situation by maintaining polite control and socializing with the residents. She learns from each of them their circumstances and philosophies. She firmly refuses to ever see the tea Rose room and becomes more and more hostile towards Rosario. She is determined to go home and confront her son and the manager with this unconscionable “behind her back” intervention. She hangs on to her volition that she will be where she alone decides to be. As she waits for her son to arrive to take her home, perhaps she’s not so sure after all.
2013 24Hour Plays at the Miners' Foundry, Nevada City
THAT OVAL PLATTER 10 minute play Synopsis of the Play:
Bodie, a long haul truck driver, arrives home early to surprise his wife/sweetheart. But Jill has made other plans to visit her mother and they argue. Just before she leaves for the airport, their neighbor, Rachel arrives, ostensibly to ask for the return of her oval platter which Jill believes she has already returned. Jill leaves, asking Bodie to look for the platter. Rachel and Bodie converse, with a betrayal and a troubling secret being revealed, by each. Rachel makes a play for Bodie. Jill returns surprising them and a confrontation ensues. Just who is betraying whom?