Players of the Stage to present ‘Quality Street’
The Christian theater group Players of the Stage has been rehearsing diligently for the past three months to present the play “Quality Street” April 20-22.
This four-act comedy, based on a 1901 play written by J.M. Barrie and set in the early 1800s, tells the story of Phoebe Throssel, who falls in love with Dr. Valentine Brown.
She believes he will propose to her but instead learns he is going off to serve in the Napoleonic Wars.
For the next 10 years, Phoebe and her sister Susan operate a school for genteel children.
Upper Milford Township resident Naomi Mills, who plays Phoebe in Cast 1, spoke with The Press about her character.
Phoebe is a young lady at the beginning of the play. She loves to have a good time and believes she is about to become engaged to the most amazing man she has ever met, Valentine Brown, Mills explained.
“However, she doesn’t get engaged and he leaves,” she said. “Phoebe then convinces herself she is totally undesirable and builds a mental prison that slowly isolates her from everyone and everything.”
When Brown returns after 10 years, Phoebe has a breakdown and, in an attempt to be desirable, pretends to be her niece, Miss Livvy.
“I enjoy playing Phoebe because there are so many different parts to her and it’s a fun challenge to portray them all,” Mills said. “Playing Phoebe reminded me that not only do characters in stories imprison themselves, we do, too.
“It is so easy to tell ourselves lies and become convinced it’s the truth.”
Isabelle Zimmerman, of Allentown, commented on playing Phoebe in Cast 2.
“Phoebe is quite the character,” Zimmerman said. “She goes from hatred and wanting to get revenge to forgiveness.
“She experiences heartbreak but still manages to keep a strong face and do what must be done to provide and take care of her older sister.”
Zimmerman said playing Phoebe challenges her acting skills.
Schwenksville Borough resident Olivia Thomas from Cast 1 said her character, Susan, is a very simple woman.
“She can be a bit slow at times but she has a kind heart and only wants what’s best for people, especially her sister Phoebe,” Thomas said. “Susan usually leaves things be, but I believe throughout the play, her courage builds, which leads her to finally stand up for what she believes in.”
Thomas said portraying Susan at first was very difficult, but eventually she began to really love playing this simple, silly old maid.
“I love being able to bring out Miss Susan’s kindness to her sister and her confusion with her circumstances,” Thomas stated.
She said she loves being in “Quality Street” in particular because of the humor in the play, and it has helped her grow as an actress as well.
Ashlee Davies, of Lower Macungie, discussed portraying Susan in Cast 2.
“Miss Susan is a fun-loving character,” Davies said. “She cares deeply about her sister and will do everything to protect her. She’s not exactly the smartest person on the block or confident, but she has a good heart.”
Davies said she loves playing Susan because she is so fun and you never know what she will say.
“I also enjoy playing her because she has a great bond with her sister, and they are best friends, just as I am with my sister,” Davies stated.
She loves being able to work with the incredible Players of the Stage directors and seeing everyone’s characters develop.
East Rockhill Township resident Carter Wiren from Cast 1 said his character Valentine Brown is a fun, boyish young man who loves a good time.
“[Valentine Brown] is always full of life and he genuinely cares about all his friends,” Wiren said.
“I think it’s (Quality Street) a very touching show, a great one to end my POTS career on,” Wiren stated.
Daniel Goonewardene, of South Whitehall Township and Cast 2, also commented on playing Valentine Brown.
“Valentine Brown is the physician of ‘Quality Street ‘and is very outgoing and a high-spirited man,” Goonewardene said. “He loves visiting with his friends Miss Susan and Miss Phoebe, who find him quite amusing.”
Goonewardene said playing a lively, high-energy character such as Valentine couldn’t be more fun.
“He possesses a large range of emotions, and portraying them is quite enjoyable,” he said.
Goonewardene said it’s great the proceeds from the show will go to the Bright Hope Pregnancy Support Centers.
“I’m grateful for the chance to be able to help support them,” Goonewardene stated.
This play is being directed and choreographed by Players of the Stage alumni Lindsay Swavely with set design by Miriam Barshinger.
Swavely commented on why they chose “Quality Street.”
“We decided it was time to do another comedy, and ‘Quality Street’ has plenty of strong female characters, which is good, since we are using this play to support Bright Hope Pregnancy Support Centers,” Swavely said.
“Quality Street” will be performed 7 p.m. April 20 and 21 and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. April 22 at Living Hope Orthodox Presbyterian Church, 330 Schantz Road, Lower Macungie Township.
Tickets are free, but reservations are required.
In lieu of a ticket price, an offering will be taken to support Bright Hope Pregnancy Support Center, formerly Care Net Pregnancy Centers of Lehigh Valley, 1034 Hamilton St., Allentown, which honors life and provides resources and hope to individuals facing the challenges of pregnancy-related issues.
To reserve tickets, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 610-310-7604.
For more information about Players of the Stage, visit playersofthestage.com.
For more information about Bright Hope Pregnancy Support Centers, visit BrightHopeCenters.org.