Rose-Mary Harrington, NAPP Playwright
During August, the Festival features the New American Playwrights Project (NAPP). Playwrights submit their plays and only three are selected for a staged reading, with Festival company members directing and acting. Each play has three readings.
This week’s play is Six Seconds, written by Rose-Mary Harrington. The play presents the events surrounding the JFK assassination through the vortex of the women caught in its awful grip: Lady Bird Johnson, Jackie Kennedy, Nellie Connally and Marina Oswald.
We met with Rose-Mary to learn more about her and the play.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born and educated in England, just outside of London. I’ve lived in the US for many years and currently live in Charleston, S.C. I’ve written several full-length plays, had a play performed at the Kennedy Center and was named the Oregon Literary Fellow for Drama in 2009. My plays are diverse in subject matter. I am drawn to writing about those who do not have a voice.
What was your inspiration for this play?
I received a solicitation in 2012. They were looking for plays to commemorate the 50th anniversary of JFK’s death. As I researched, I realized the women who were involved possessed a unique perspective – I could relate to them – they’re all mothers and wives. On the outside they were all together and presented themselves very well. They played the traditional role of the wife at home and they supported their men. Each of them had a story to tell.
What do you expect as a result of this NAPP experience?
I want to iron out the wrinkles, see what works, what doesn’t, what needs to be added or deleted. Hearing the play read aloud by actors allows me to listen to the cadences and rhythms of the language and make adjustments. As a playwright I am solitary. Witnessing the interpretations of the director and actors together with their feedback has been invaluable.
It’s a treat and an honor for me to be here.
Why should our patrons attend this play?
It’s a chance to revisit that turning point in history – it is very emotional. This is about the people involved. In six seconds it not only changed their lives, it changed the whole nation.
You can see Six Seconds, directed by Charles Metten and featuring Tracie Thomason as Lady Bird Johnson, Samantha Allred as Jackie Kennedy and Larry Bull as LBJ on August 8, 9 and 27 at 10am in the Auditorium Theatre. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at www.bard.org or by calling 800-PLAYTIX.