The Quincy High School theater department is presenting “Dear Ruth” this week as the traditional winter play returns to the “A Building” stage.
“Dear Ruth” is a play by playwright Norman Krasana in which young Miriam Wilkins (Senior Natalie Newendyke) carries a pen pal conversation with the dashing Lt. William Seawright (Senior Harrison Knapp) using her older sister’s name.
The older sister in question is Ruth (Junior Lilly Twaddle), however when the Lieutenant comes ashore for a two-day leave Ruth plays along with Miriam’s charade to avoid hurting the solider feelings. The parents of the Wilkins girls, Judge and Edith Wilkins (Sophomore Ethan Rogers and Senior Grace Branch), are quite put out with Ruth and her shenanigans but support her in her efforts to keep the seaman’s spirits high.
But not everyone is aboard with the plan, including Ruth’s serous boyfriend Albert Kummer (Senior Andrew Krus), but after a series of wacky visitors and a ton of lively complications and plot twists…who will end up with who?
This production is under the direction of Meghan Buckley with assistance from Stage Managers Senior Brooke Sohn and Junior Ray-Ann Cook, as well as Student Director Senior Landry Edwards. Dave Buckley oversees the production of the set.
For the seniors, what is it like this being one of the last shows that you will do at the high school?
“It’s a good show for the last show,” said Sohn. “Because it’s a smaller cast and crew so we all were able to grow closer. It was an easier design for the show, but they are all pretty similar with levels of difficulty.”
“It feels kind of sad because it’s one of my last shows and my passion for this is so strong,” said Caleb Schinderling, who is Sgt. Chuck Vincent. “It somewhat takes away the stability ahead and it’s sad not returning next year.”
“It’s sentimental…I’m glad we were able to be back and it’s good to be back and together working on something like this,” Newendyke said.
Freshman Evie Talcott said she’s always wanted to try her hand at acting.
“I’ve always been interested in theatre and I wanted to be involved in something like that at the school,” Talcott said.
QHS presented “The Wizard of Oz” last fall in its first post-COVID production and these young thespians are still adjusting to a different way of performing.
“It is weird to jump back into shows especially with the two new rounds of new people but with Broadway Battle last year as a stop gap it was less weird,” Sohn said.
Caleb Schinderling: “Wearing masks has been different but after Wizard of Oz it’s gotten more normal,” Schinderlingsaid.
“Pantomiming has been weirder, things like fake eating and stage kisses have gotten a little odd,” Talcott said
Favorite part of the show?
Sohn: “Albert’s voice has been pretty funny.”
Schinderling: “I really like the end of Act 1; I think that’s a pretty funny part of the show.”
Tallcott: “I really enjoy the line I was afraid he’d say Frank Sinatra.”
Newendyke: “Pretending to be drunk is a really fun thing to act.”
Who is everyone’s favorite character?
Meghan Buckley said she opted for a comedy in “Dear Ruth”, which was supposed to be performed in 2020 before COVID scrapped the production.
“I wasn’t going to put this on the radar originally because I picked it for another class before the pandemic and I didn’t know if the group would be able to do it,” she said. “But I couldn’t find another show I liked better, and I guess it was a meant to be. Also, after the past two years we don’t really need a drama, so I chose to do a comedy instead of what the usual winter show is, which is a drama”
When asked to describe the show in three words, Buckley said “Endearing, historical and witty.”
The show dates for “Dear Ruth” are February 10, 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m. The cost for admission is $7 for students and $10 for adults. The tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance by calling the QHS music office at 217-224-3774.
Photos by Meghan Buckley
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