‘Quilters’ a highlight of drama festival

By Vince DeMiero

Earlier this month, the drama department put on a musical production, “Quilters”, written by Molly Newman and Barbara Damashek, in honor of Women’s History Month, the month of March. With a cast of seven talented young women, their performances were as strong and steadfast as the historical women they portrayed. A cutting of this production was performed at the ITS (International Thespian Society) state competition and it was the only cutting to receive the highest rating.
Appropriately named, the show was beautifully woven into a fantastic story of women who helped settle the western frontier; each scene represented a “block,” or patch, of the quilt that was the overall production.
Every scene held a different essence of the lives of these women, derived from the letters, journals, diaries, and memories they left behind, just as each block of a quilt represents a different part of a story.
The cast, seniors Amanda Steuart, Shelby Windom, Jessica Weight and juniors Miranda Troutt, Karin Redden, Kaitlyn Martin, and Susanna Faherty, portrayed strong and believable emotional investment into the many characters they played, a judge at the ITS state festival commenting, “Impressed with the characterization and the manner with which the actresses created various different characters.” All seven young women have beautifully resonant and pleasant voices to listen to, another comment from their state competition being, “Impressed with the strong/beautiful vocal quality of the show,” and these judges didn’t even get to see the entire stunning performance.
What musical would be complete without a pit orchestra behind them? “Quilters” was accompanied by a small group of students, though rather than being in the pit as a pit orchestra usually was, the group of musicians was exposed on stage, a wonderful accent to the set. Lead by MTHS choir director T.J. Sullivan, who also played guitar, the group consisted of Ryan Woodyard on ukulele, Kyle Scherrer on mandarin/ukulele/guitar, Scott Swanberg on bass, Taylor Griffin and Sun Young “Sunny” Song on piano, and Glacier Peak’s Mariya Zima on violin.
Over all, this production was beautifully performed and the students did justice to the representation of simple human dignity and steadfastness in the face of adversity that the women’s stories told.
In the end, a large quilt was raised and displayed all the stories in the blocks they were represented by. The entire production was breathtaking and admirable, the MTHS theater department produces quality work, and “Quilters” added to that reputation and tradition.