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Motlow Theatre Department Performs American Premiere of Carrie’s War

Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 7:31 pm

The theatre classes at Motlow College will present the play Carrie’s War beginning Thursday in Powers Auditorium of Eoff Hall on the Moore County campus.

It is the first time the play, which tells the story of the effects of World War II on the children of London, will be performed in the United States.

Those in attendance for the opening performance on Thursday will be treated to a British Tea reception at 6:30 p.m. sponsored by the International Education Committee.

Evening performances will take place Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (April 12, 13, and 14) at 7:30 p.m. A final afternoon act is scheduled for Sunday, April 15 at 2:30 p.m.

Admission price for the play is $10 for adults and $5 for children under 10. To make reservations call the Motlow Box Office at (931) 393-1546.

Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Motlow Business Office in the Ingram Administration building on campus and will also be available at the door.

The play is a stage adaptation of the book Carrie’s War published in 1973 by Nina Bawden.

The story was featured in a series of television episodes on Masterpiece Theatre and has been performed in stage productions in the UK. The Motlow performance will be the first time it will be performed in the United States.

“I contacted the author of the book and then the playwright to get permission to perform the show. They were delighted that Americans were interested in one of England’s favorite stories about WWII and the children of London,” said Assistant Professor of Communications Jeannie Brown. Brown also directs the play.

The setting of the play is Great Britain during World War II. British leaders devised a plan to protect their children from German air raids. Although evacuation was never required, many families made the difficult decision to send their children to the countryside for safekeeping. Thousands of children were loaded on trains from war-torn London where they were cared for in Wales and other places not directly involved in the war.

The story of Carrie’s War tells of two siblings evacuated from their home in London in 1940 to a foster home in Wales. Carrie Willow, played by Olivia Hiers of Tullahoma, and her younger brother Nick Willow, portrayed by Stephanie Bottum of Hillsboro, end up with a cantankerous old shop owner Mr. Evans, (Richard Chilton, Tullahoma) and his much kinder sister, Auntie Lou (Jenipher Dobbs, Fayetteville).

The two children befriend Albert Sandwich (Tom Gaetjens, Tullahoma), a fellow evacuee, who lodges with the Evans’ estranged sister, Mrs. Gotobed, played by Motlow drama instructor Emily Seal of Murfreesboro. Dana Pierce of Shelbyville makes her stage debut at Motlow with one of the play’s most interesting characters, Hepzibah Green.

Tullahoma minister, Jim Zidan, portrays the character of Mr. Johnny, a man with a serious disability.

One of the most dramatic scenes in the play is when Mr. Johnny is involved in a violent scene with Mrs. Gotobed’s nephew, Fredrick. (Jonathan Cantrell, Tullahoma). Cantrell plays the role of a grown-up bully and Jim brings passion to his role as a disabled man who has been plagued by bullies all of his life.

Other roles in the play portrayed by student actors are: Albert Sandwich, (Tom Gaetjens, Tullahoma); Mrs. Fazackerly, (Lauren Miller, Manchester); Billy, (Lance Howard, Manchester); Mr. Owen, (Brandon Sample, Tullahoma); Major Cass Harper, (Jesse Baker, Tullahoma); Adult Carrie, (Kelly Carver, Lynchburg) and Carrie’s Son, (Blake Young, Winchester).

In addition to Seal, who acts in the play and was in charge of the costumes, other Motlow faculty members with roles in the production are Dr. Linda Harris-Young of Lynchburg who plays Mrs. Rhys and Judy Taylor of Manchester portraying Mrs. Davies. Young and Taylor are both professors of biology at Motlow.

Other students involved in the production include: Adam Sharrer of Cowan, Ty Mosier of Shelbyville, Aaron Helms of Taft, Nickie Fanning of Fayetteville, David Gillies and Kurt Krause of Lynchburg, and Bria Oakley, William McKamey, and Autumn Horton of Tullahoma.•