Whyte, Willis (American playwright, writer, 19__-____), “Sidesaddle Soldiers,” a 25-minute historical drama in English, set on the verandah of a run-down Southern Plantation that has been converted into an asylum, Rhea County, Tennessee, U.S.A., 6:00 p.m., July, 1912
1f (+ nonspeaking male extra)
• © 1999 by Willis Whyte; • script/rights available from Willis Whyte, 195 Knight Street, Providence, Rhode Island 02909, U.S.A., e-mail email@example.com, telephone (home/work) 401-454-0831. • Cited by Willis Whyte, via ftp September 7, 1999; Whyte says,
§ Dramatis Personae Anne Frances Kelly (f), 65, a white spy and a scout for the Rhea County All Girl Spartans; Hospital Orderly (m extra), 35, a nonspeaking black attendant.
§ Synopsis “The year is 1912. The story is that of Anne Frances Kelly a member of the Rhea County All Girl Spartans—the only all girl Cavalry unit serving the Confederacy. Seventeen members of the (24-woman) troop were arrested by a vindictive Union Army Captain and shipped from their homes in east Tennessee to Chattanooga to be prosecuted. Miss Kelly shares her memories with the audience while trying to keep a grip on her sanity and for the first time in her life comes face-to-face with the reality of her journey.
§ Comment “‘Sidesaddle Soldiers’ recounts the life of Anne Frances Kelly. Depicting the issues and conflicts of Southern women during the American Civil War, it also depicts the horror of that war through Kelly’s experiences as a spy, a scout and a prisoner of war. The hospital orderly (a nonspeaking role) only appears at the end of the play, when he steps onto the verandah to return Miss Kelly to the asylum for her dinner. The part of Anne Frances Kelly is a gem for any actress, as it explores a wide range of emotions while retelling the story of this woman’s involvement in and a partial history of the American Civil War. The historically-accurate script is based on a true story. ‘Sidesaddle Soldiers’ requires a minimal set, very few props and no costume changes. It occurs on the verandah of a Southern mansion that has seen better days, evidencing having been occupied by Civil War troops. At the front of the building are four barred windows (two on the first floor, two on the second). An oversized front door remains closed until the last few lines. A pair of French doors, closed and shuttered, flanks each side of the entry way. ”
§ Themes 1912, American Civil War (1861-1865), American history (1861-1865), asylum, biography, Civil War (American, 1861-1865), hospital, Kelly (Anne Frances Kelly), presentational theatre, Rhea County All Girl Spartans, Rhea County, verandah, women’s history.
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