BOX OFFICE 610.644.3500

Row After Row


By Jessica Dickey

Directed by David Bradley

October 15-November 9, 2014

Steinbright Stage

Two hard core Civil War re-enactors have their traditional post-Gettysburg beer interrupted by a woman with her own battle scars. 1863 and today converge in this dark comedy about friendship, bravery, and healing by Jessica Dickey (The Amish Project). “Funny, sad, deep, and beautifully written.” (The New Yorker)

Approximate run time is 80 minutes with no intermission. Due to adult language and content, this show is best enjoyed by ages 14 and up.

Pickett’s Charge: The Untold Story BOOK SIGNING & TALKBACK

Join the cast and former editor and journalist Bruce E. Mowday for a talkback about the performance and the history of Pickett's Charge. Mr. Mowday will also be in the lobby before and after the show to sign purchased copies of his book Pickett's Charge: The Untold Story, which will be on sale at the theatre. *Before and after the 7:30pm performance on October 30, 2014 ONLY.*

November 6th Talkback with Eben Jordan

Join the cast and Civil War re-enactor Eben Jordan for a talkback about the performance and an insider’s take on Civil War re-enactment.

Scoop on Wednesdays: History, Context, and Gossip

People’s Light continues its Scoop program, now on Wednesdays! Join us for a lively discussion before Wednesday 7:30 pm performances. Resident Dramaturg Gina Pisasale will host an artist from the production and get the inside scoop about such things as the rehearsal and production process, design choices, and the world of the play. The program begins at 6:00 in The Farmhouse Bistro on October 22nd, October 29th, and November 5th. Cost of $15 includes light fare. Call the Box Office at 610.644.3500.

Dinner & A Show Packages

Enjoy a prix fixe dinner and a show package for $73 (Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday matinee, Sunday evening) and $82 (Friday, Saturday evening, Sunday matinee) at The Farmhouse Bistro prior to the Wed-Sun evening performances. That's a savings of up to 15% off the single ticket price! View the full menu. Call 610.644.3500 or order online.

Cal: William Zielinski*
Tom: Kevin Bergen*
Leah: Teri Lamm*
Director: David Bradley
Set Design: Luke Hegel-Cantarella
Costume Designer: Marla J. Jurglanis
Lighting Designer: Lily Fossner
Production Stage Manager: Thomas E. Shotkin
Sound Designer: Christopher Colucci
Dramaturg: Gina Pisasale
Line Producer: Abigail Adams

* Member, Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers.

Kevin Bergen*
People's Light: Georg Balthasar Schott in Bach at Leipzig, Noah Curry in The Rainmaker, Royal Treasurer in The Emperor's New Clothes. Theatre includes: The Walnut Street Theatre, The Wilma Theatre, Arden Theatre Company, The Shakespeare Theatre, American Repertory Theatre, Commonwealth Shakespeare, The Studio Theatre (D.C.), the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival, and Shenandoah Shakespeare. Training: American Repertory Theatre Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard.
Teri Lamm*
People's Light: Jessie Mae in The Trip to Bountiful, Caroline Bingley in Pride and Prejudice. Theatre Includes: The Iceman Cometh (Broadway), Cyrano de Bergerac (Roundabout), Palace of the End, Hannah and Martin, Habitat, Little Eyeolf, Time and the Conways (Epic Theater Ensemble), Midsummer, Equus, Flea in Her Ear, Devil's Disciple (The Alley Theater), How I Learned to Drive (Dallas Theater Center). Film/Television Includes: Law and Order, Law and Order SVU, Third Watch, Trifling With Fate. Training: MFA from NYU.
William Zielinski*
People's Light: The Trip to Bountiful, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, The Merchant of Venice. Theatre Includes: Down Past Passyunk, InterAct Theatre Company; The Sister's Rosenweig, Portland Stage Company; The Seagull, Quintessence Theatre; The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Theatre Exile; Eventide, The Denver Center Theatre; The Seafarer, Arden Theatre; Arsenic and Old Lace, Baltimore Center Stage; To Kill a Mockingbird, Virginia Stage Company; and Trumbo, PTC. Film/Television Includes: Dead Man Down, Do No Harm, Future Weather, Night Catches Us, The Wire, and Shot In The Heart.


What's the play about?
Great! Tell me more about the characters!
Cool! What are the ideas behind it?
Sweet! What’s some cultural/historical context?
What else has the playwright done?

What's the play about?

Tom and Cal, Civil War re-enactors, have known each other since the sixth grade and gotten in to re-enacting together. Every year, they meet, re-enact Pickett’s Charge, and then head to a specific table at a local bar for beers. This year they find Leah at their table when they arrive. As a newcomer to Gettysburg and to re-enacting, she disrupts their traditions in more ways than one.

The play jumps between isolated exchanges within Pickett’s Charge during the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863 and an old pub in Gettysburg, PA today. Cal also (re-)enacts the role of Confederate General Longstreet. Tom inhabits the role of a Union deserter. And Leah becomes a woman of the time, dealing directly with the death and destruction of the war. Their roles in the past inform who they are and their relationships in the present by delving into moments of personal crisis and offers of redemption.

Great! Tell me more about the characters!

In the character listing, Jessica Dickey describes him as “bearded, despite often sounding like a d-bag, he is very lovable and likable. Capable of change.” His fiancé recently “bailed” on him.

He is described as “spectacles, tries very hard to keep things nice, polite, harmonious. He adores Cal and has fun with him.” Tom is an American History teacher, married, and about to have a son.

Described as “naturally tough and independent, also sensual in an authentic way. She loves a good discussion and holds her own very well.” She has been a modern dancer for 10 years in New York. She’s recently moved to Gettysburg on an alcohol-inspired whim to escape her “despair” and regroup. She’s participating in the re-enactment for the first time.

Cool! What are the ideas behind it?

Playwright Jessica Dickey on Row After Row
Having grown up next door from Gettysburg and the Mason Dixon Line, the Civil War has always loomed large for me. I wrote Row After Row because I felt the need to explore the themes of the Civil War without the clichés of the political or historical, but through the personal-- the lens of these characters. Why do we re-enact these battles? What does it mean to be a contemporary person looking back on history? What are our contemporary battlefields, and what do they mean in relevance to the battlefields of the past? How is the Civil War still alive in each of us?

Civil War re-enactors are a very proud, quirky bunch, and learning about them and their subculture for this play was a true delight.

Director David Bradley on Row After Row
I was drawn to Jessica Dickey's writing six years ago when I read her solo piece The Amish Project, inspired by the shooting in Nickel Mines, PA. Jessie creates stories that join fact and imagination, past and present, the intimate and the expansive. She's got a great sense of theatricality. All of that's at work in Row After Row. Whether it's the characters in 2014 facing a new baby, a broken relationship or a new home, or the characters in 1863 in the midst of the biggest battle of our history to that point, Row stages times of change and potential choice. Seeing that distilled on stage is the reason we want to be in the theater, or even re-enact a battle: to be witness to, or get inside, turning points and understand them with greater empathy. Maybe so we can keep others company more fully. Maybe so we can face our own moments of change and choice in, as the play says, a "more perfect" fashion. These characters are all facing turning point moments. And even as they show us how imperfect they are (like the rest of us!), they are trying to move, charging or halting, forward.

Sweet! What’s some cultural/historical context?

The World of the Play

Gettysburg, PA

The play takes place on July 3rd in Gettysburg in 2 historical periods: present day and 1863. Today, Gettysburg is famous for the pivotal battle that took place there during the Civil War and hosts visitors from around the world every year to re-enact the three-day battle. The borough itself is the county seat of Adams County and is less than two square miles with a population of around 7,700.

During scenes set in the present day, the characters meet at a bar after the re-enactment of Pickett’s Charge, which happened on the third and final day of the battle. The bar setting was inspired by the Dobbin House, a Civil War era home that has been transformed into a colonial restaurant located in the heart of Gettysburg.

Pickett’s Charge

The scenes set in 1863 happen on various locations on the battlefield during Pickett’s Charge. Pickett’s Charge was an infantry assault by Confederate forces on July 3rd, the third and final day of the Battle of Gettysburg. The charge is named after Confederate Major General George Pickett, one of the three generals who led the attack. The Southern forces, led by General Robert E. Lee, had failed to capitalize on their initial successes and numerical superiority during the first two days of the battle. On the final day, Lee decided to charge the now re-enforced Union forces in the center of their line. This strategy was thought ill-advised by the charge’s commander, Lt. General James Longstreet. As southern divisions marched a mile towards the Union line across an open field, Union artillery ripped gaping holes in their ranks. Still, the Confederates kept coming but were ultimately unable to break through the Union line and retreated.

On July 4th, Lee’s army began its long march back to Virginia in a downpour with a line of ambulances filled with wounded stretching back 17 miles. 70,000 Confederates had begun the battle and between 23,000 and 28,000 were killed. For the North, the three day attack cost 23,000 lives and was the costliest battle yet for the Union. Gettysburg was the most Northern point reached by the Confederacy. The defeat had a major psychological effect on the Southern war effort.

Gettysburg Re-enacting

Last year in 2013, on the 150th anniversary of the attack, between 200,000 and 300,000 visitors flocked to Gettysburg to watch over 10,000 registered re-enactors participate in the mock battle. While battle re-enactments are not permitted on National Park Service sites, the commemorative clashes will be on privately owned land. Pickett’s Charge is typically the climactic event of the three-day event and is staged in an area known as Bushey Farm.

Gettysburg, with a population of 7800, anticipated a $100 million economic impact of the anniversary event. Over 700 national and international journalists covered the event and visitors quickly filled the town’s 2600 rooms and 1800 campsites spaces.

The organizing body of the annual re-enactment of the Battle of Gettysburg is the Gettysburg Anniversary Committee, founded in 1995 by local community members. The following is posted for interested re-enactors for 2014:

“The Gettysburg Anniversary Committee looks forward to welcoming reenactors to the 151ST Gettysburg Anniversary Civil War Battle Reenactment. We work every year to improve the event and 2014, even though smaller than the 150th will be a memorable and enjoyable event . In addition to our overall excellent history of providing ample amenities such as wood, water, clean toilets, organized parking, security, traffic control, excellent 24 hour EMS, shower access, on-site shuttles and 24 hour fire protection, we have been working with commanders in the field to better accommodate requests for improved battle scenarios, authenticity standards, and providing an environment which fosters a memorable event for all involved. We understand the 151ST Gettysburg is highly anticipated by both reenactors, visitors and the community – so the bar has been raised extra high again [for] this year’s event.”

Gettysburg Anniversary Committee. “Reenactors.” G.A.C. Last modified 2014. Accessed September 18, 2014.

The site also lists “Impression Standards”

Impression Standards
The Gettysburg Civil War Battle Reenactment is a very special and significant commemorative event for the reenactment community, the visitor, and the Gettysburg community. The eyes of the nation and the world are upon us. In order to promote event integrity and honor, and to respect your fellow reenactors and provide an accurate portrayal to the public, the organizers, and military command request your cooperation by heeding the following authenticity standards:

1. All clothing must accurately represent the fashion and style of 1863, e.g., natural fibers, period cut and color.
2. Modern plastic glasses frames are not permitted.
3. No modern shoes and no sneakers.
4. No specialty impressions without the approval of the event sponsors. This includes portrayals of Lee, Jackson,
    Lincoln, Grant, Clara Barton, etc. If you have any doubts, please ask.
5. Women portraying soldiers in the ranks should make every reasonable effort to hide their gender. Hundreds, if not
    thousands, of women passed themselves off as men in order to serve as soldiers during the war—on both sides, and
    we will never know exactly how many did so because their disguises were so good. Honor them. If any Army or
    event volunteer (as above) determines the female gender at not less than 15 feet, that individual will be asked to
    leave the field/ranks.
6. Hair should be worn as appropriate to 1863.
7. As a compromise to modern safety, a minimum number of period MILITARY or Hospital Ice Angels (2-3) will be
    permitted on the battlefield for each authorized battalion. Each Ice Angel must be at least 16 years of age. Proper
    uniform will be required. Dresses for the ladies will not be allowed on the field.
8. Do not wear any uniforms or insignia that would not have appeared at Gettysburg.
9. The classic “campaigner” impression is suitable for this event. Shoes shall be worn! Failure to do so will result in
    removal from the event.
10. A dirty musket is rarely, if ever, appropriate and may, in fact, constitute a safety violation.
11. All anachronisms (cots, coolers, sweat pants, etc.) must be hidden inside tents at all times. Your camp is not
    only your reenactment home; but is also a significant living history experience for both your fellow reenactors and
12. Tobacco use shall be confined to period products—pipes, cigars, snuff, chew or, in rare cases, filter-less cigarettes.
13. The event organizers, and respective military commanders, have final authority regarding authenticity issues.

Gettysburg Anniversary Committee. “Impression Standards.” G.A.C. Last modified 2014. Accessed September 18, 2014.

What else has the playwright done?

Jessica Dickey (Playwright) grew up in a small town next to Gettysburg and is the creator of the acclaimed The Amish Project, which has been produced around the country and the world and is published by Samuel French. This past season her play about Civil War re-enactors Row After Row (“funny, sad, deep and smart… beautifully written” --The New Yorker) premiered at the New York City Center through the Women’s Project, and her play Charles Ives Take Me Home premiered at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. Jessie was hailed as a “talent to watch” by the New York Times (Charles Isherwood), praising her writing for its “freshness, economy, occasional cheeky vulgarity and poetic insight.” Charles Ives Take Me Home and Row After Row are both due for publication later this year. Jessie’s plays have twice been nominated for the Susan Smith Blackburn prize, and have been developed and produced at Cherry Lane Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, Playwrights Horizons, City Theatre (Pittsburgh), American Theater Company (Chicago), Strawdog (Chicago), Mo’Olelo (San Diego), The Wilma (Philadelphia), Hudson Stageworks, Echo Theater Company (LA), New Harmony Project, Sewanee Writers Conference, People’s Light and Theater, among others. This coming season Jessie’s plays can be seen at People’s Light (Malvern PA), Curious (Denver) and Milwaukee Rep, among others, and she is commissioned by Rising Phoenix, Fords Theatre in DC, and EST. Jessie is also an actor, most recently appearing in Proof at the McCarter, Broadway’s Wit, Barrow Street Theatre’s Hit The Wall, as well as television’s The Big C, Law & Order and the Lifetime movie Amish Grace.

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