The Civil War from the Inside

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A ONE-ACT PLAY by Actors’ Theatre of South Carolina casts intriguing new light on the little-known personal conflicts and ironies of the Civil War.

Co-produced by The South Carolina Historical Society, and partially adapted from material in its archives, “The Road Home” examines unique war-time perspectives of union and confederate citizens and soldiers, along with some new (and surprising) insights into the stirring opinions of Frederick Douglass and General Beauregard.

Also depicted is a Jewish widow from Charleston: Phoebe Pember, who was in charge of several wards of a massive hospital in Richmond during the war, and who later wrote a book about her experiences, A Southern Woman’s Story: Life in Confederate Richmond.

Phoebe Yates Levy Pember

Civil War renditions have a way of focusing on the regional conflict—the outer struggle—between North and South. This geographical distinction, and the partisan views associated with it, easily overshadow the pre-existing commonality of “united” states where people in different areas of the young country knew each other, were related to each other, and directly influenced one another through family, friends, school, business, and life in general.

The fact is that when the war erupted, it prompted as much inner conflict as it did bloodshed—to the point that the Civil War years were riddled with private turmoil and personal ironies which often escape published historical records.

Frederick Douglass

That’s why “The Road Home,”a one-hour show that will be staged next weekend at the Circular Congregational Church, should be captivating theatre—not so much about war events, but in terms of people’s relationship to those events.

As Director Clarence Felder said, “One of the great aspects of this show is the wonderful resources that we have unearthed from the resources of our partner, the South Carolina Historical Society, and other sources. This play is essentially our way of revealing a lot of fascinating new information that people should be aware of about the war.”

Tyler Ilgen as a soldier and Abigail Kamerad as a spy

Clarence will be joined on stage by co-directors Michael Easler and Chris Weatherhead, as well as Tyler Ilgen and Abigail Kamerad. The cast of five will portray 12 characters who not only fought, prayed, and longed for home, but who transcended the atrocities and contradictions of war with their humanity.

When and Where
Circular Congregational Church, 150 Meeting St.
Sat, April 21 @ 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Sun, April 22 @ 2:00 p.m.
Tickets: $20
Call 723-­3225, ext. 11

Clarence Felder

Actors’ Theatre of South Carolina is one of the few professional theater and film companies in S.C. They have produced 72 productions in nearly 15 years, including the feature film “All For Liberty” about an extraordinary hero of the American Revolution in the backcountry of South Carolina. “All For Liberty” has won nine international film awards, and three national historical awards, and is available on DVD.

Clarence Felder is a Broadway, film, and TV veteran who has co-starred in films such as The Last Boy Scout (with Bruce Willis), Ruthless People (with Danny Devito), The Hidden, and After Hours. He co-starred for two years on ABC’s hit series Hooperman with John Ritter, as well as LA Law, Matlock, Dallas, Designing Women, Twilight Zone and other prime-time series. He has also co-starred in ten Broadway shows including Queen & The Rebels (with Colleen Dewhurst), Henry V, and Memory of Two Mondays (with Meryl Streep), Love For Love (with Glenn Close), Macbeth (with Christopher Walken), and The Suicide (with Derek Jacobi). Mr. Felder has performed over 125 leading roles in major theatres across the U.S. and Canada.

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It is with life as it is with art: the deeper one penetrates, the broader the view.                   
~ Johann Goethe