The Road to Appomattox
Bjørn Johnson, Tyler Pierce
Properties Design & Set Dressing
Production Stage Manager
Light Board Operator
Sound Board Operator
Jared A. Sayeg
Orlando de la
Robert T. Kyle
Red Colegrove, Le Sanne Bernandez/Grove Scenery
Rene Parras Jr., Christopher Rivera,
Matt Tsang, Genetra Tull
Brian Cordoba,Rene Parras, Jr.
(in order of speaking)
Various locations along Lee's retreat trail from Richmond to Appomattox
The first week of April, 1865, and the Present
will be one 15 minute intermission
The Road to Appomatto
Running time: Approximately 2 hours
was commissioned by Barter Theatre (Abingdon, VA),
Richard Rose, Producing Artistic Director, as part of their Shaping of
A Note from the Playwright
on the Road to Appomattox
Theatre, my playwriting home, is located in beautiful Abingdon,
Virginia - a town that sits in the southwest tip of the state.
Arlington House, General Robert E. Lee’s former home, is 350 miles to
the north and east - and yet Lee’s presence is felt just as much here
as there. In fact, all of the Commonwealth is haunted by this man who
his home first, last, and always. Lee Highway
travels the length of the state. Washington College in Lexington (where
he is buried) was renamed Washington & Lee in his honor.
abound. The man is Legend.
So five years ago, on the
eve of the
Civil War’s sesquicentennial, when Richard Rose (Barter’s Producing
Artistic Director) asked me to write a play about Robert E. Lee, I was
a bit daunted. How do you turn a Legend into a living, breathing
person? How do you write him, warts and all, without alienating your
very southern audience? And more importantly to me - a Yankee, born
& bred - how do you make him accessible to the rest of the
What could a modern audience take away from this man’s life? What can
the Present learn from the Past?
Robert E. Lee was a career
officer in the United States Army. He was opposed to secession. In
1861, when the politicians in Richmond voted to leave the Union, Lee
found himself in a horrible predicament; he could either betray his
country or take up arms against his home. The ultimate no-win
situation. In other words, he was stuck.
Feeling "stuck" is a
phenomenon we modern Americans encounter daily. Stuck in traffic. Stuck
in jobs we hate. Stuck with mortgages we can’t afford, debt we may
never pay off, or family members who push every button. Some of us,
like Beau and Jenny, the present-day characters in the play, may even
find ourselves stuck in marriages that aren’t working. What do we do?
Do we fight to make it work? Do we surrender to the past? Do we stay
stuck or find a way to march down the road?
On that fateful day
in 1861, Robert E. Lee chose Virginia over his country. He chose to
defend his home. Four years later, he found himself stuck once more,
this time in a small hamlet called Appomattox Courthouse. The Union
Army had him surrounded. We all know that Lee surrendered at
Appomattox, but what many of you may not know is that surrender was not
his only option. He had a choice, and in making the decision to
surrender, he did as much to save the Union as Abraham Lincoln. He, and
through him, the South, became “unstuck.” The Union was preserved.
years later, as we in this country continue to fight over the issues
which divide us, I hope we take this present moment to remember the
past fondly, then let it go. Instead of yearning for how it was, let us
dream of how it may be, and march smartly into the future, a future
where all have an equal chance at the American dream. Because no matter
what race, sexual orientation, or religion we claim, we are all
Americans now - north, south, east and west. Thank you, General Lee.
~ Catherine Bush
FROM THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
"Do you ever miss the old theatre?"
"Not for a minute."
had this exchange many times, the questioner always a subscriber who
has been with us since the old days, before we came to Burbank.
in 1975 and for the next 25 years, our home was a 99-seat theatre near
Dodger Stadium. In our marketing materials we said we were in Silver
Lake (which was cool even then), but actually we were located in an
un-named, undistinguished part of LA we affectionately referred to as
The Land That Time Forgot.
Despite this unfortunate location, we
achieved a level of success that startles me even now. As people
discovered us and told their friends, our subscriber base grew. I was
always astonished to learn the distances some of our subscribers
traveled to attend our shows. They came from everywhere - not just from
our neighborhood and nearby communities, but from the West Side, Orange
County, Ventura County, and the east San Gabriel Valley. By the early
nineties, there were over 3,000 of them.
And that made it possible to fulfill the dream I had cherished since
the day we started.
you ever wondered why there are so many 99-seat theatres in Los
Angeles? It’s because professional theatre actors are members of
Actors’ Equity Association, and are not permitted to work in theatre
without an Equity contract that establishes wages and benefits. Except
where the theatre seats fewer than 100 people, in which case Equity
waives the requirement for a contract. There is no pay for rehearsals,
a small stipend for performances, and no benefits.. Producing theatre
is never easy, but those economics make it a lot less hard!
have been a member of Actors’ Equity since 1967, and my Equity card is
one of my proudest possessions. (To me, it gives dignity to a noble
profession that has often had to fight for the smallest ounce of
respect.) And my dream for The Colony was to be in a theatre large
enough to pay its actors actual wages and meaningful benefits. The size
of our loyal audience, and the generosity of the City of Burbank in
providing us a 270-seat home, made it possible.
So, yes, in the
old days I rarely had a sleepless night worrying about our finances,
and I continue to have them now despite our recovery. But when I look
at our stage and know that every actor up there is working under an
Equity contract, I am filled with pride.
And I don’t miss the old days at all.
Gibby Brand Brad Brown Patrick Buchanan
Michael Jones Hilda Kane Ray Lorme, Linoleum City
Paul Manganiello Wadler Data Systems Rei Yamamoto