“This is an extraordinary story of courage, honesty, love and hope for a new future for America, for both the North and the South,” says WGTD Wisconsin Radio Theater co-executive producer and director Steve Brown. “The true magic of Frank Wicks’ play is in its simplicity.
The letters become the dialogue – conflict, humor and emotions completely take over the moment the play begins.”
To mark the observance of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, Soldier, Come Home, a play by Frank W. Wicks based on his family’s Civil War letters, is available for productions by theater companies and community groups throughout America and abroad.
Soldier, Come Home brings to life the letters of Wicks’ great-grandparents, Mary Luke Pringle and Philip W. Pringle, and family members, written during the period 1859 to 1865 from western Pennsylvania and from major Civil War battle sites, including Antietam, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, the Siege of Petersburg, and Appomattox.
Recent performances have taken place in Wisconsin (including a live radio broadcast which won the 2012 First Place Award of Excellence from the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association), Illinois, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Massachusetts, Oregon, Tennessee, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, and internationally in Merida, Mexico and at the South Bank Playhouse, Belfast, County Down, Ireland.
In 1950, the long-forgotten letters were discovered in a shoe box in the attic of the Wicks family home in South Fork, Pennsylvania. Wicks’ father, Frank Wicks, Sr., began the project of transcribing the letters.
Wicks, a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, continued the project and then began transforming the letters into a play, weaving the story of his family through the events of the Civil War.
The letters provide a look back at some of the most significant battles of the Civil War as well as what life was like for those family members left behind.
“You don’t have to be a Civil War buff to appreciate ‘Soldier, Come Home.’ It’s about family, struggles for survival, love, duty, and hope: universal themes for people caught in the maelstrom of war.” – Rita Bailey, Joshua Chamberlain Civil War Round Table, Brunswick, Maine
Soldier, Come Home premiered in Brunswick, Maine in 2002. The play has been performed throughout America, including an Off-Broadway presentation in New York City. For the opening performance, critics said, “Soldier, Come Home played to enraptured audiences. The script, plus the acting, staging, lighting and music produced an amazing, intimate view of history. This is a theater experience not to be missed.”
The play is performed as reader’s theater by five actors playing eight different characters
using minimal sets, lights and costumes. The play may also be presented simply – in an open space. Soldier, Come Home runs approximately one hour with no intermission.
Beginning January 2016, the script of Soldier, Come Home is available free of charge. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and request a copy. You may download it and share it with friends.
If you decide to stage a production or reading, contact the author for royalty information at email@example.com.
“We had the ‘Soldier, Come Home’ play in our town and it was a smash. We loved it!” – Linda Shuck, Historic New Richmond, Ohio
“See ‘Soldier, Come Home.’ It is a wonderfully human story of a couple living in the Civil War period. You will be touched and grateful for having seen this. It was a privilege to present it.” – Jean Ferris, Savanna Museum and Cultural Center, Savanna, Illinois.
“Last week, was moved to tears by this play, performed at an intermediate school in Bellbrook, Ohio. Had witnessed it several times before, but was deeply impressed, again, by the urgency and vitality of the voices. School-children were so attentive, you could’ve heard a pin drop.”…Carol Bussey, Bellbrook, Ohio
“These letters capture the rich details of the war and the living conditions in the Union camps and, often overlooked in Civil War collections, life at home.”…Dan Weston, McConnellstown Playhouse, McConnellstown, Pennsylvania.
Purchase and download a PDF file of the play "Soldier, Come Home" for $10 via PayPal.
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Civil War Letter