Popular original play to be restaged during Pioneer Christmas

Published 10:57 am Wednesday, November 28, 2012


The Daily News

“Forty Going North,” a play written by Robyn Sprehe, made its debut to enthusiastic audiences during the Washington Parish Fair in October, and the show will be back by popular demand at the Mile Branch Pioneer Christmas celebration this weekend.

It will be presented at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1 and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 2 at Mile Branch Settlement in the Washington Parish Fairgrounds in Franklinton.

The first in a series of plays based on local history and the cabins in Mile Branch Settlement is a natural fit for the annual holiday event.

“Forty Going North” is set on a winter day in the Sylvest family’s homestead on the edge of the Gum Swamp in the Bullock community.

“A hard working pioneer family, they are founders of many things Washington Parish, but daily routines turn out to be quite humorous,” Sprehe said.

For its debut, the author/director who is also Mile Branch publicity chairwoman and founder of the Mile Branch Players, teamed up with the Sylvest family to present what is described as a “fun and comedic” one-act play based on Nehemiah Sylvest’s life in 1890 Washington Parish.

The play was presented on the Sylvest cabin porch during the fair.

“These characters are real and fascinating,” Sprehe said. “I wanted to stay true to the stories the families shared with me, while showing that not everyone in the 1800s was as serious as the photos made them look.”

Although her characters “lived in a different era,” they were people who knew both joy and hardship, like the people of today, she said.

The play will be presented free of charge.

Sprehe also wrote the plays “Good Friday” and “A Very Pioneer Christmas” with her mother, Lisa Sprehe.

Characters and cast members for “Forty Going North” are: Nehemiah Sylvest-Al Freyder, Lenora Sylvest-Sally Thomas, Nancy Sylvest-Elizabeth Phillips, Martha Sylvest-Selena Miley, Chris Sylvest-Kreig Todd, Ontee Sylvest-Laci Branch, Tella Sylvest-Laken Culpepper, and Myrtis Jane Sylvest-Zoe Jane Nastasia, and narrator-Brenda Simon. The director is Robyn Sprehe, and the co-directors are Charles Krzykwa and Lisa Sprehe. Robin Sprehe wishes to extend a very special thanks to DG Entertainment.