85 pages, Drama in two acts
5 M, 4 W – (2004) revised 2012
In 1906 a girl bids provincial life “Good-bye” by boarding The Bernhardt Special, until Papa’s spilled secret about her long deceased mother replaces romantic fantasies with visions of a dangerous future and forces her to reconsider the adventure.
At sixteen, Angeline Sullivan seizes the chance be a maid serving Sarah Bernhardt in Little Rock, Arkansas. Heady to meet the romantic actress and frustrated with the mystery of her late mother, Angeline decides to join Bernhardt’s train tour and see New York, place of her birth and Mama’s death. Observing her bumbling work, the cook Henry discourages her plan, but even when caught with Bernhardt’s leading man by the star and Papa, Angeline begs to join the entourage. Despite Papa’s desperate revelations, Angeline packs her valise and asks Henry’s help at the station. His voice is most persuasive in the drama swirling around her, as he tells her to fold family secrets into a safely “dull” life or risk a precarious existence outside any community.
About the 2011 performances at Argenta Community Theater, North Little Rock, AR:
Longtime theatre critic for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Eric Harrison, found much to enjoy with the first full performance of FIRST FAREWELL. Subscribe to the paper’s online edition to see it, archived: September 24, 2011, Arkansas section, p. 3: “Sparkling Acting Aids Well-Crafted First Play.”
Blogger Scott Whiteley Carter also found the play engaging. http://somecommentsonthetheatre.com/2011/09/29/farewell-no-regrets/
I’m grateful for creative collaborators: scene designer Mike Nichols, costumer Debi Manire, director Wayne Chapman and the wonderful cast: Anna Robbins (Angeline), Mike Mueller (Charles), Tommy Diaz (Henry), Judy Trice (Sarah Bernhardt), Geoffrey Bara (Deneubourg), Bill Trice (Shankley), Georgette Sims (Suzette), Ira Grace (Jonathan) and Tamisha Cheatham (Young Woman). Following retirement from the UALR Department of Theatre and Dance, Wayne will be a guest director at Hendrix College, Conway, AR, in 2014.
Thanks to the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service www.clintonschool.uasys.edu/, the Argenta Arts Foundation, and Laman Public Library www.lamanlibrary.org/ for sponsorships, as well as other groups and patrons who supported the the production.