"The Civil War" performers include, left to right,
Roger Bush, Barbara Morris Full and Jim Full.
Three members of Parkersburg Actor’s Guild with
Calhoun connections brought out the Calhoun Pride last weekend. Roger
Bush, CCHS Class of 1969, Barbara Morris Full, Class of 1967, and her
husband, Jim Full, were featured in the play, “The Civil War.” Roger was
Capt. Emmet Lochran of the Union Army, Barbara was a wife and the angel,
and Jim was Virgil Franklin, a Confederate. The three had several vocal
I had the feeling that the cast lived their parts,
instead of just being good actors. Several of the performers played
multiple roles, first appearing as Northerners and then coming back as
supporters of the Southern cause. It showed the anguish of war, not only
for the soldiers, but also for their families. The actors included Union
and Confederate soldiers, slaves and civilians.
The play was based on letters, diaries and
correspondence of Civil War soldiers and their families, as well as
words and writings of Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass and Walt
An early scene shows young recruits from both the
North and the South shouting war slogans and making fun of their
opponents. They boast of their strength and are enthusiastic about the
war, saying, “We’ll get home before the first snow.”
One particular scene that was heart breaking
portrayed two sentinels. A Northern soldier is shot by a Rebel, and
while the victim lay dying, he was heard to say, “Tell my father that
his son didn’t run or surrender . . . he remained proud and true like he
taught me.” The assailant realized it was his brother, and took him in
his arms as he took his last breath.
The slaves are shown in a slave auction on a
Savannah wharf. Their story tells of the ordeal of being sold as
merchandise, separated from those they love, and of the terrible life
they endured on the plantations. A man and a woman, sold on the auction
block and soon to be separated, sing of their devotion to one another
and their desperate longing for freedom
Pierce, a captain in the Confederate Army, sings of
his homeland, “Virginia.” He dreams of the plantation of his youth and
wonders if the way of life he has known has gone forever.
Captains of the opposing sides, Pierce and Lochran,
confront their thoughts on the eve of battle. They each pray, asking for
God’s mercy for sending men to their deaths in battle. As the sun rises,
Lochran and Pierce think of all the letters they have written to mothers
whose sons have died in battle and the faces of all the soldiers they
A nurse tells how she talked with a young soldier,
sick with dysentery and typhoid fever, who asked her to read to him from
the Bible. He told her that he did not fear death, and he dies as she
tries to comfort him.
The exhausted soldiers wonder if the war they
thought would be so easy to win will ever come to an end. They dream of
home, knowing all the while they are likely never to return there.
Abraham Lincoln sits alone in the White House in
the winter of 1862. Late into the night, he wrestles with his thoughts,
as his wife shows concern that he will make the right decisions.
Another scene shows a Union officer and a
Confederate sentinel. At first they insult each other, but soon they are
talking of the similar situations: comparing bullet wounds and bad
rations. They are talking simply as men, not as enemies, and realize
that they could probably solve the problem in a short time if it was
left to them. They both admit that they are really scared.
“The Civil War” will have two more performances,
Friday, Apr. 25, and Saturday, Apr. 26. Performances are at 8 p.m. at
the theater located at 724 Market St. For reservations, call 485-1300.
The play features a wide variety of music, some
comedy, and the everyday feelings of ordinary people who were involved
in the conflict. The directors, Charlie Matthews and Mike Dotson, have
said that “The Civil War” will hopefully touch your soul and endure as a
monumental celebration of sacrifice for the 620,000 who died.