The Sheridan College Theatre and Dance Department will present their spring play “Amelia” by Alex Webb inside Sophie’s Stage at the WYO Theater on Friday, April 9 and Saturday, April 10 at 7:30 p.m. with a matinee performance on Sunday, April 11 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors/veterans and $5 for students and can be purchased at the WYO Theater Box Office or at www.wyotheater.com. Livestreaming tickets are also available for the evening performances for $15.
Part history play, part love story, “Amelia” is a heroic Civil War tale about one woman’s search for her husband across the battlefields of America. Webb wrote the play after reading a reference to a woman who broke into the Prison Camp at Andersonville in a Civil War diary. It is estimated that 400 to 500 women masqueraded as men and fought in the Civil War. “Amelia” is not a celebration of the legendary generals that are so often at the center of this history but the Civil War from the perspective of the common people.
According to theatre faculty member and Director Lauren Graffin, the play explores the enduring nature of love, the cost of war and the courage one can find in extraordinary circumstances. This is a sentiment that students also echoed.
“When I first read this play there were a lot of emotional ups and downs,” says performer Amber Steier. “I fell in love with the story because it explores women in history. That story is often not told, even though we know women played an important role in the Civil War. You don’t hear about it a lot in literature and theatre and “Amelia” fills that gap.”
The performance utilizes a minimalist stage design, and actors play multiple roles.
“The style of the performance is demanding,” said Graffin. “It requires the actors to do a lot of the work. It is a great learning experience for students and wonderful to see how they are flourishing as they push themselves out of their comfort zone to create work at a higher level than ever before. The imaginary world they manage to create is captivating to watch.”
Student performer Erick McConnon agreed.
“I love that the performance style is so fluid. We only ever have two to three people onstage at a time and yet, we create multiple worlds. It is a bold story told in a minimalist way,” he said.
The all-student cast includes Emme Rosenbaum as Amelia; Amber Steier as Mama, Marie and Mrs. Sullivan; Gavin Creeden as Ethan, Daddy, Corp Hawkins, Colonel and Baltimore; David Britton as Ben Wyatt, Quartermaster, Sawbones, Morton, Guard, Ketchum and Horse Thief; and Erick McConnon as Samuel, Col Binder, Driver, Vermont and Dead Eyes. Rachael Anderson created the scene design and technical direction is by Verl Averett.
This play features mature themes and may not be appropriate for all audiences. Parental discretion is advised.