OSWEGO – The Oswego High School Drama Club will premiere a new play, “On The Terrace of the Doolittle Hotel” written and directed by Mark Cole, on May 5 and 6 at 7:30 each evening at the Robinson–Faust Theatre of the Performing Arts.
The play takes place in Oswego, in September 1901 and features the character of Dr. Mary E. Walker.
According to Cole, “I had co-written a play about Dr. Walker’s life and times in 1990. That was a two-character piece. I’ve long been interested in creating a play in which Dr. Walker interacts with fictional characters who must, in their own ways wrestle with her uncompromising approach to dress reform, women’s rights and political equality. The opportunity to work with the OHS Drama Club and its excellent team of designers and technicians meant the time was right for this endeavor.”
According to historian Anthony Slosek, writing in his book “Oswego: Its People and Events,” the Doolittle House (called a hotel in the play) was “Opened to patrons in 1874 and continued in service until demolished in 1910 to make room for the Pontiac Hotel.”
Natural spring water was discovered during a construction project in the river behind the site of the hotel.
At great expense, Sylvester Doolittle, the hotel’s owner, excavated and discovered the source of the spring.
His efforts were successful and Deep Rock Spring water was bottled in Oswego and marketed throughout the eastern United States.
In the play, the seamstress May Breen (Natalie Griffin) arrives at the terrace to deliver a gown for the actress Florence Rush (Leah Mullen).
May loses her bearings when the gown disappears.
In one day Dr. Mary Walker (Olivia DeLorenzo) is reunited with her umbrella and with Sam (Keelan McGreevy), her loyal but ornery companion; Emily Draper (Rachel Leotta) fends off the advances of the journalist, Jordan White (Andrew Bornheimer); Ducky Donovan (John Syrell), a waiter, contends with the customers and pledges his devotion to May while her mother, Mrs. Breen (Mary Bornheimer) fights to maintain control of her daughter; Lieutenant Harrison (Nolan Callahan), just returned from the Philippines faces his cynical disillusionment about America and love; Roland Reed (Jack Lee), an actor, meets a daughter he’d given up years before; Reed’s wife Florence surprises everyone with a spectacular disappearing act; and May delivers an impassioned plea for women’s rights.
It’s a typical day on the terrace: the overbearing head waiter Mr. Parfey (Yuriy Momotenko), loses control of the waiters, Danny (Liam Tovey), Davey (Travis Dominick) and Dickie (Dieonte Parker), while customers flirt, break up, fall in love and drink the Deep Rock Spring Water.
Through it all, Dr. Walker sips her buttermilk and offers advice on everything from marriage equality to tobacco smoking to politics to women’s rights.
Cole added, “The play shifts from light entertainment dealing with romantic tangles to more serious themes about political and social upheaval and ultimately the transitory nature of life. There is an element of whimsy, a madcap sense of nonsense at times; and at other times ideas and relationships are handled seriously. The real gives way to the surreal.”
Students involved with the production include Kathleen McGreevy and Abby Cook, assistants to the director; Katherine Pecora, stage manager and Caitlyn Fowler and Alyssa Cheeley, assistant stage managers.
Scene and lighting design is by Steve Braun. Sound design by T. J. Bandla. Costume coordination by Garrett Heater. Producer is Robert Dumas.
The play is suggested for ages 14 and older.
Ticket information: ohsboxoffice.ticketleap.com or by emailing: [email protected]