Soldier, Come Home brings to life the letters of Frank W. Wicks' great-grandparents, Philip and Mary Pringle, and family members, written during the period 1859 to 1865 from western Pennsylvania and from major Civil War battle sites, including Antietam, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, the Siege of Petersburg, and Appomattox.
The letters, discovered in a shoe box in the attic of the Wicks family home in South Fork, Pennsylvania, provide a look back at some of the most significant battles of the Civil War as well as what life was like for those family members left behind. Wicks transformed the letters into a play, weaving the story of his family through the events of the Civil War, producing a moving, intimate view of history.
Winner, Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Award for Excellence: "Best Significant Community Impact."
“The true magic of Frank Wicks’ play is in its simplicity. The letters become the dialogue - conflict, humor and emotions completely take over the moment the play begins.” - Dr. Steven Brown, Kenosha, Wisconsin““Was moved to tears by this play, performed at an intermediate school in Bellbrook, Ohio. Had witnessed it several times before, but was deeply impressed, again, by the urgency and vitality of the voices. School-children were so attentive, you could’ve heard a pin drop.”…Carol Bussey, Bellbrook, Ohio
“The letters actually become a play, inviting us into the lives of one family dealing with war, separation and, ultimately, hope. It’s gripping, fascinating theater. I didn’t want it to end.”...Northern Illinois News"It is a wonderfully human story. You will be be touched and grateful for having seen this.” – Jean Ferris, Savanna, Illinois
- No Special Cautions
- Minimum Fee: $75 per performance
- Time Period: American Civil War Era, 19th Century
- Duration: 75 Minutes
American Civil War training camps and battlefields, 1861 to 1865, and the parlor of the home of Mary and Philip Pringle, Armagh, Pennsylvania.
The play may be presented in a number of ways - as a full production with sets, period costumes and props; simply, in an open space containing five chairs with actors in street clothes; and as a live radio broadcast. Clearly, it is up to each director’s imagination. (Live or recorded music has been used in every production.)
For the original production, actors stood on black platforms at three different levels. They wore formal clothes - tuxedos and an evening gown. Five dark colored, plain wooden chairs were placed on the platforms. Lighting consisted of five front of house lights – one focused on each actor and each light on a separate dimmer. Overhead were blue backlights to give actors enough light by which to read the letters.
- Additional Features: No intermission, Play w/ Music
- Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes, Period Costumes
MARY LUKE PRINGLE, in her thirties
PHILIP W. PRINGLE, in his thirties
(MARY and PHILIP are attractive lovers, strong and energetic. We see MARY, especially, grow and change throughout the play - from carefree young girl to seasoned responsible mature woman. There are moments in the play where there is a definite transition to a “new” MARY. Her voice becomes stronger and more powerful.)
DAN LUKE, Mary’s brother
(DAN LUKE is an orator and proud of his achievements and opinions. He is enthusiastic with a good sense of humor. He “paints” a wonderful picture of army life.)
MARTIN PRINGLE, JR., Philip’s younger brother
(MARTIN PRINGLE, JR. is quite a contrast to Dan - a comic character - boyish, young, innocent - right off the farm - wide-eyed. The
first few letters of MARTIN’S and DAN’S are a quick back and forth volley of energy, urgency, and excitement.)
1 actor plays these 4 characters: (Good for this actor to have a strong, mature voice.)
JOHN LUKE, Mary’s father
ISAAC M. EDELBRITE, a family friend
JOSEPH PRINGLE, Philip’s older brother
MARTIN PRINGLE, SR., Philip’s father
(Up to the actor and director to find a different voice and quality for each character.)
- Ensemble cast
- Expandable casting
- Flexible casting
- Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
- Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)
- Parts for Senior Actors
The play is performed by a cast of 5 playing 8 different characters plus a Prologue. However, you may expand the casting to 8 actors. (and a possible 9th, if the Prologue is read by a separate actor) (Age ranges are suggested below, but can be played - and have been played successfully - by older actors. Casting may also be color blind.)
Soldier, Come Home premiered at Center Stage, Brunswick, Maine, May 2002.