There is not much in the way of sweetness in The Quiltmaker. The play is populated with troubled, conflicted, characters who are simmering with anger that are thinly masked by a veneer of Southern simplicity. The world of the play is not at all what the title suggests.
There is also a lot to like about The Quiltmaker. When I first encountered the play it was at the their Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights, an annual event taking place each August at Virginia’s Barter Theatre. The Quiltmaker walked away with top honors that year. Since then, Catherine Bush, has been installed as the resident playwright at Barter Theatre and has been busy creating plays for them that have run on all of their stages and have toured with their Barter Players outreach program for kids.
What is particularly fascinating about The Quiltmaker is that the characters are full of surprises. The simplicity of their rural lifestyle, free of the distractions of mainstream culture (they are hilariously unaware of who Oprah Winfrey is) is contrasted by the deeply complicated relationships that they have with each other. These relationships can be colored by decades of interactions and betrayals and rivalries are clung to as tightly as blood-relationships. The characters in this play are at once funny but tragic and seemingly stereotypical but yet completely distinct. They are ordinary people wrestling with extraordinary conflicts; a surefire recipe for compelling theatre.
Whenever people ask me about plays we are doing at Parkway Playhouse , they are always seem surprised to learn that we are doing plays, like this, that they have never heard of. My response to this is that while the plays may not be different the people who are creating them are the same. The artists involved in this production live in this area, shop in the same grocery stores, our kids go to school together, and we attend the same churches. Unlike film, or television, this play was created for a very specific audience. If we sold every seat, only about 1700 people would get to see it. More people in one day will see a screening of the new Avengers film. The point is not whether you have heard of the play, it is whether you will participate in a unique community experience that was fashioned specifically for you. ~Andrew Gall, Artistic Director of Parkway Playhouse
CLICK HERE to buy tickets for The Quiltmaker.
CLICK HERE to watch the trailor for The Quiltmaker.