By Louise Schroader Epperson
In 1814 a German religious sect led by Father Rapp established a utopian society on the Indiana banks of the Wabash River. They were very industrious and so successful that by 1824 Father Rapp felt they had too much free time on their hands for singing societies and such so he sold the town and moved his community to Economy Pennsylvania to start over. Robert Owen, a wealthy Scottish industrialist, purchased the town today known as New Harmony Indiana to pursue his dream of a second utopian society there – this one to be based on science and knowledge. He persuaded the best thinkers he could find to come down the Ohio River on a keelboat to relocate to the wilderness. Among the 36 passengers on this keelboat were William Maclure and Marie Fretageot. A body of their letters spanning a 13 year period found in the old New Harmony Library became source materials for a present day librarian working on her doctoral dissertation. The play weaves the story of the letter writers’ long ago relationship and their part in the history of New Harmony with the struggles and aspirations of the current librarian; they become friends across time. In 2014 New Harmony celebrated 200 years of existence.
William Maclure – Tall, reddish hair, age late 50’s – 60’s.
Marie Duclos Fretageot – Petite, dark hair, age late 30’s – early 40’s.
Josephine/ Martha – Young, 20’s
Sen. Gonzales/ William Robertson/ Joseph Neef/ Geoffrey
Phiquepal d’Arusmont/ Marty/ Intruder – As Phiquepal, he is French – 40ish
Robert Owen/ Michael – As Robert Owen, he is 50ish, as Michael he is younger
Frances Wright – Late 30’s
Vincenzo/ Thomas Say/ Reuben Haines/ Gerard Troost/ Bradley
Dr. William Price/ Charles Alexandre Lesueur/ Donnie
Hannah Fisher Price/ Mrs. John Beal
Jane Haines/ Sarah Turner
Mrs. Robertson/ Helen Fisher (Russian Accent)
Mrs. James/ Lucy Say