“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 which comes alive through the letters that are read to the audience. These 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, schools, historical societies, Civil War visitor centers, libraries, and community groups throughout America. You may purchase and download a copy of the play right now.
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, Oregon,
Tennessee, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, and internationally in Merida, Mexico and at the South Bank Playhouse, Belfast, County Down, Ireland. The next performance will take place Friday, August 7, Brunswick, Maine, in celebration of the play’s 100th performance.
Soldier, Come Home brings to life the Civil War letters of Mary Luke Pringle, her husband, Philip W. Pringle, and family members, and is adapted for the stage by Frank W. Wicks, great-grandson of Philip and Mary Pringle. 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.
Wicks, a founding member of the Long Wharf Theater and a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, transformed the letters into a play, weaving the story of one family through the events of the Civil War. Mary Pringle wrote to her husband from Armagh, Pennsylvania, while Philip and other family members corresponded from several major Civil War battle sites, including Chancellorsville, The Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, the Siege of Petersburg, and Appomattox.
In 1950, the long-forgotten letters, written from 1859 -1865, were discovered in a shoe box in the attic of the home of Wicks’ grandparents, John S. Wicks and Sadie Pringle Wicks, in South Fork, Pennsylvania. Wicks’ father, Frank Wicks, Sr., began to transcribe the letters. After his father’s death, Wicks continued the project and began work on Soldier, Come Home.
“I was struck from the beginning by the powerful content of the letters,” Wicks said. “They were filled with complicated relationships, humor, and struggles for survival. I felt that the energy of the letters, plus their historical importance, would make a dramatic presentation.”
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.
The play is also a wonderful opportunity for actors to display their talents. This is a comment from Jessica Peck who created the role of Mary Pringle in 2002: “I was invited to join the cast of “Soldier, Come Home” back in the early years of its development. Meeting Mary Pringle and breathing life into her letters was an experience unmatched by anything I have ever done on stage.”
The script of Soldier, Come Home may be purchased for $10.00. To purchase and download a PDF file of the play, click the “Buy Now” button on the sidebar under “Purchase Play.” When the payment is made you will be on the payment receipt page. Please read carefully: In order to download the play, you must click Return to Dance in Maine Fdn. on the bottom of the payment receipt page. Thank you.
If you decide to stage a production or reading, contact the author for royalty information at email@example.com or call 207-833-6484.
“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