Funding from the Michigan Humanities
Council and the Keweenaw National Historical Park Advisory Commission has made
it possible for the Calumet Theatre to produce an original play in commemoration
of the one hundredth anniversary of 1913-1914 Copper Miners Strike.
Playwright Steve Feffer has been
commissioned to write the new play inspired by this landmark historical
event. The play, entitled Strike Parade, is set in the
Calumet Theatre primarily on December 23, 1913, and focuses on the Women’s
Auxiliary #15 of the Western Federation of Miners, including member Anna “Big
Annie” Clemenc. The play tells the story of this diverse group of women as they
prepare with humor and resourcefulness for the Christmas party at the Italian
Hall on the following evening under the harsh conditions of their life during
the strike. While the play is non-fiction, it draws on historical characters,
archival material, newspaper accounts and period songs to bring to the stage a
group of women that are committed to sharing with their community a desire for
respect and dignity, as represented by the daily “strike parades” that became a
regular feature of life during the era. At the heart of the play
is the relationship between “Big Annie” and a reporter from a newspaper in
Denver, new to the town, who may or may not be a labor spy.
Playwright Feffer, is a
professor of playwriting at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, whose
plays been seen in Michigan, including the U.P. Book Tour and Kalamazoo, as well
as Chicago, New York, Houston, Philadelphia, and other theatres around the
country, and published by Best American Short Plays, Applause Books, Dramatists
Play Service and Faber and Faber.
The play is directed by Patricia
Helsel, Associate Professor of Theatre at Michigan Technological University.
Helsel’s most recent play is the Tech Theatre Company’s Rose
and the Rime currently showing at the McArdle Theatre at MTU.
Auditions will be held on February 19,
20, and 21 at 7 pm at the Calumet Theatre.
Please come prepared to read from a
Strike Parade is not a musical, it may include some group singing. Be prepared
to sing a few bars of a familiar tune.
Actors are being sought for the following
roles: Annie Clemenc, age 25; Kathryn, a
reporter, age 25; James “Big Jim” MacNoughton; Coleen, his wife;
female actors for the Western Federation of Miners Women’s Auxiliary Local #15;
male actors - playing a number of the other roles in the play, including Charles
Moyer, Joe Clemenc, various townspeople and
Strike Parade is scheduled to open at the Calumet
Theatre on April 25, 2014. Please call the Calumet Theatre at
337-2166 or email busoffice@calumettheatre for additional information.