Quilters a touching story

The Main Street Players of Boone County grows as a non-for-profit community theater group. Quilters, its current production, takes the company to a new level.

Directed by Jim Radloff, Quilters tells the stories of women facing the challenges of life on the frontier. Quilting becomes the vehicle of communication, a solace in times of grief, and the celebration of joyful events.

Radloff directed and staged Quilters at the Clock Tower Dinner Theatre and brings his expertise to the current production. The intimacy of the space puts the audience in close contact with the players, giving an emotional depth to the play.

Radloff chooses his cast well. Experience varies, but the ability to project emotion realistically is a gift they all possess. Angie Fellows in her first theatrical effort plays matriarch and mother with aplomb. Soft-spoken with a reedy singing delivery, her performance touches a chord of heartfelt understanding.

Barb McCaskey and Valerie Hoglund, with long years of experience, cope with the complicated staging projecting, and do especially well musically.

Mary Ellen Skwark, Betsie Swartz, Sandra Bohn, and Janis Braswell complete the cast. They mesh well and, playing a variety of characters, adapt to the demands of quickly changing from one role to another.

The Rockford Legacy Quilt made for the 1997 Clock Tower production is 127 inches square consisting of 24-inch blocks created from 140 different fabrics. Local quilters came together to cut, piece, stitch, and quilt as women have done for generations. Each block represents a significant event in the life of those onstage.

Based on the book The Quilters: Women and Domestic Art by Patricia Cooper and Norma Bradley Allen, it was adapted for the stage by Barbara Damashek and Molly Newman. Produced in regional theaters throughout the country, Quilters has become a classic. Based on historical research, it accurately describes the lives and emotions of women making a new world in difficult circumstances.

Cynthia O’Lane is musical director, Lon Hoegberg handles a sophisticated lighting design, and Nicole Moody costumes the production.

Playing through Nov. 16 at the Community Building Complex at 111 W. First St. in Belvidere, shows begin at 8 p.m. and play Thursday-Sunday. Information: 229-4444.

The season continues with Neil Simon’s Chapter Two opening Feb. 12 and The Drunkard or Down With the Demon Drink, opening May 13.

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