60 minutes – 12w, multi-racial, age ranges from 20- very mature
In the early morning hours of a hot day in August 2020, Olivia, an MTSU graduate student in public history, sits alone in her studio apartment in downtown Murfreesboro, Tennessee, eating a bowl of gone-cold Ramen noodles and typing on her laptop. She feels the pressure of having to write, before dawn, the best speech of her life for the Centennial Celebration of Women’s Suffrage. It’s not going well. She tries some yoga. She talks to a friend. But nothing seems to work, and most of all, she misses the wise counsel of her mother who has recently passed away.
She opens the blinds to see if the sun has come up yet. It’s still dark. She turns on a floor lamp by the window and returns to her computer. Staring at the screen, she sighs, slowly lays her head down on the desk and gives in to sleep.
We hear the soft refrain of a mid-nineteenth-century song. Then a Bobwhite call. The door to Olivia’s apartment opens quietly, and the spirit of Mary Kate Patterson, a notorious Confederate spy, tiptoes into the room wearing a voluminous cape and elegant dress whose design is circa 1864. Olivia stirs, and the dream begins.
Over the next hour Olivia is visited by the spirits of 10 more inspiring Rutherford County women, who all appear as they were at the peak of their power, to help Olivia write her speech. The powerful mover and shaker, Myrtle Glanton Lord, suggests creating a vision board, using symbols of the strength each guest brings to the party.
A final woman appears, and a dramatic confrontation paves the way for the party of 12 to experience an epiphany about the true definition of greatness. As the new day dawns, the women pour a celebratory drink of Strawberry Cordial, toast each other, and disappear, beckoned back to the beyond by the rousing melody of a familiar hymn. Thankful and inspired, Olivia greets the sun and embraces her future.
Production History: Commissioned by Rutherford County Arts Alliance, August 2019.
Virtual staged reading August 2020
World Premiere at the Washington Theatre in Murfreesboro, TN, April 8-10, 2022.
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