My maternal grandad attended and taught at a one-room school house, and my maternal grandmother taught in multiple one-room schoolhouses in the 1920s and 30s. I have visited the one-room schoolhouse where my grandad spent time as both a student and teacher. I have a very strong personal connection to this nearly-gone form of education, so I was excited to meet with Partner Tin Roof Theatre earlier this summer to talk marketing strategies regarding their September production (and regional premiere!) of Schoolhouse by Canadian playwright Leanne Brodie.
I attended today’s matinee performance at Partner The Stage at Island Park, and all I can say is don’t miss this production. If you are from the midwest, chances are good you have family who attended these multi-grade, one-room schoolhouses. This beautiful play is your opportunity to get an insider’s glance at what life was like for your family members.
I don’t often comment in any critical way about any of our Partners’ events because I can’t get to everything and because I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to “review” the work being done. That being said, I hope you will take the time to attend this production. Bring your parents and grandparents and children. There is humor and heartbreak and more in this play. The cast is wonderful, the direction is spot-on, the set is perfection and the music, composed by Topher Williams for this production, is haunting and bare, like the midwest landscape, and lends a gorgeous layer to the whole.
I will see many wonderful productions and concerts and openings this fall, and I won’t have the time to write about all of them to this length, but this was a not-too-long-ago way of life brought to us as a theatrical experience I don’t want people to miss. This production honors the work of my Grandad and Grandma Bowman and all the others who worked so hard in those small, one-room schoolhouses to bring education to the most rural parts of the country, and it honors them beautifully.
Schoolhouse runs September 12, 13 and 14 at 7:30 and September 15 at 2:00.