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Tuesday, February 2, 1999

Theatre Production, The Green Rocking Chairs, Opens Feb. 10 in Fulton Hall Theatre

SALISBURY, MD--When The Green Rocking Chairs premieres at Salisbury State University’s Fulton Hall Theatre February 10-14, it will be an unusual theatre event for the Eastern Shore.

Author Jeanne Frank, who lives in Princess Anne, MD, said, “The play is set here on the Eastern Shore and I am very happy that it will make its debut here.”

The turn of the last century was the golden age of steamboats on the Chesapeake Bay. There were legendary resorts at spots around the Bay and their verandahs were lined with green rocking chairs. Diary entries show that women met while vacationing at these resorts and often continued their friendships year after year.

The two-act play, set at a Chesapeake resort during the romantic steamboat ear, is abort just such a pair of women. Amy Ainsworth of Philadelphia (played by Amanda Welch, an SSU alumnae) and Eliza Reynolds of Richmond (played by Jill Tracey, an SSU graduate student), first met in the Gay Nineties and every summer thereafter through the Ragtime era, WWI, the Roaring Twenties, the stock market crash, up to the gathering storm of WWII. Lulled by the Bay breezes and the rhythm of the green rocking chairs, they form a friendship that gives them the strength to face the events of life.

Like life, the play is both tragedy and comedy. Amy and Eliza continue to be amazed by life’s surprises right up to the plays unexpected conclusion.

Frank says, “The play’s incredible ending surprised even me. When I was doing research about the steamboats, I discovered some amazing facts that caused me re-write the second act and ending. That kind of find is a gift that writers hope for and are lucky to come upon.”

Frank won the Best Play of 1993 Artscape Award for her play, Tides of Time, which was produced at the Arena Theatre in Baltimore.

Also appearing in The Green Rocking Chairs is SSU student Jocelyn Wright. Set design is by Gerry Patt, lighting design by Trish Eckstein, and costume, makeup and hair design by Sallie Ridgway of the Costume Loft.

Curtain for The Green Rocking Chairs is 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, February 10-13, with a matinee, February 14, at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $7 general admission, $5 students and senior citizens. SSU ID card holders are admitted free. For reservations call the SSU Theatre Box Office at 410-543-6228.


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