Quill Theatre’s ‘INFAMY’ offers local-insight into one of America’s darkest days
If you’re a history buff, who loves the theatre or a theatre buff who loves history; mark your calendars as Quill Theatre brings INFAMY: Remembering Pearl Harbor to the stage Virginia Historical Society’s Robins Family Forum next week, as the first of it’s 2016-2017 Historical Reading Series. The multi-media event is set to mark the important 75th anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor.
The Historical Reading Series at Quill Theatre began back before Henley Street and Richmond Shakespeare merged together. Richmond Shakespeare Theatre held staged readings similar to what the Historical Reading Series is today.
Melissa Johnston Price, Writer and Director of INFAMY, has been involved with the Historical Readings for years. Price said that the initial idea for INFAMY came about roughly a year ago.
“Andrew Talkov from the Virginia Historical Society contacted me and said ‘You know the 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor is coming up,” she said. “We latched on to that immediately and here we are.”
The Virginia Historical Society is partnering with Quill Theatre to put on INFAMY. Talkov, Vice President for Programs at the Virginia Historical Society, played a huge role in providing archives for research necessary to put the show together.
Price said that her vision for the play didn’t completely come about until she completely dove into her research on the historical context and findings of Pearl Harbor as a whole.
“I had no idea what it was going to be like,” said Price. “I started reading lots and lots of books and it just rose right on up to the top that the stories from the survivors are so touching and so poignant that they really just bring the story of Pearl Harbor alive.”
While writing the script for the play, Price said she envisioned a live Ken Burns-style documentary. Ken Burns style is most famous for using archival footage and photographs in documentary film, so with that vision, the play grew into a multi-media production.
The play will consist of six actors playing out the narrative of different survivors of the event, based off of quotes of survivors themselves.
“The actors will be narrating,” she said. “Giving some facts and descriptions to bring these eye-witnessing accounts to life. There will also be a lot of production involvement with a big screen to present still pictures and video clips from the day paired with sound effects and music.”
A key element in the show, that will make it unique, according to Price, is the retelling of stories that occurred in Richmond, during the same time as Pearl Harbor.
“We’re going to tie it directly to Richmond and Virginia,” said Price. “There are specific stories in the play of what was happening here on December 7th to show that life was going on over here on this side of the world, simultaneously while our ships were being devastated 4,700 miles away.”
Price said she hand picked the actors. There will be four men and two women acting people from different walks of life during that fateful day.
“There’s an art to be able to read from something and bring it to life,” said Price. “Not everybody can do it.”
As a self-proclaimed history nut, and having been involved with the theatre for over 30 years, Price says she has been able to wrap her arms, heart and head around the Historical Reading Series at Quill Theatre and is very excited to see it on it’s feet.
The Historical Reading Series puts together a play for every season for history and theatre buffs to enjoy. The Spring is said to be a look at the involvement of the Branch House and Valentine Museum’s women with the Richmond Suffragette Movement and the Summer will be in partnership with the Jewish Community Center.
INFAMY will be December 7, 2016 at 7pm with additional school and public performances on December 5th, 6th, and 7th at 10:30am at the Virginia Historical Society, Robins Family Forum – 428 N Boulevard, Richmond VA 23220
Find tickets here.
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