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Flashback Theater Awarded Grant for Play Development about Local Historical Figure Rose Will-Monroe

The Kentucky Foundation for Women recently awarded Flashback Theater Co. (FbTC) a $1,000 grant to pursue development of a play based on the historical figure Rose Will-Monroe, of Science Hill. The first night of development will take place on Saturday, February 11 at 7:00 p.m. at Stoner Little Theatre as part of FbTC’s Let’s Play! workshop series.

Flashback’s mission is “to explore our present relationship to the world through the lens of our past interactions as a community and through the passionate pursuit of theater that speaks to the soul.” For Sommer Schoch, that means producing work that reflects the history and heritage of the area. Past work such as And the Tide Shall Cover the Earth has reflected that, but finding plays based close to home is a challenge. 

One solution is to work with local artists to create productions that reflect our history. Rose Will-Monroe was one of the iconic women who posed as Rosie the Riveter in WWII, empowering women to take part in the war effort and ultimately leading to the advancement of women in the workforce. 

The play development process began in January with playwright Amber Frangos and director Sommer Schoch reviewing the first draft, although the idea for the play first came out of the new play workshop held last summer. Flashback board member Carol Huckelby attended the public reading of that workshop and suggested that Rosie the Riveter would be an interesting person to research and make the subject of a play.

“Amber and I had discussed the general outline of the play over the next few months but I did not get a draft until the first of January,” said Schoch. “As many theatre artists know, the first read is an important experience because it is the only time you get to experience the story without knowing what happens next.” 

“My hope is the process will mold Rosies into a piece of work that illustrates the importance women played in WWII and the sacrifices they made to do so,” adds Frangos. “I wanted to write about Rose Will Monroe because she had so many things in common with contemporary women. She was a single mother during pre-World War II; she worked full time, raised two daughters, and became Rosie the Riveter to boot!” 

The play’s next stage of development will be the reading and workshopping of two of the scenes this Saturday, February 11, at 7:00 p.m. at Stoner Little Theatre.  The workshop is open to the public and will include a short forum for feedback after the scenes are run. Actors in the Let’s Play! Company will be cast in roles for this session and some additional work by other local playwrights is expected to be included in the evening as well. 

Following the February session, Frangos will get a chance to rewrite again before a weeklong workshop intensive in July. The weeklong intensive will then lead to a public reading of the full play at the August Let’s Play! workshop. 

“From there, anything is fair game,” Schoch goes on. “The goal is that this process leads to a script that is ready for a full scale production.”

Frangos adds, “This play shows women in the workforce is not a new concept. The same struggles moms work for today hasn’t changed. This play is important too, because it illustrates that women working together can accomplish wondrous things. Their concerted effort sustained the war.“

New plays typically get shopped around to regional theaters after the workshop process. A major regional premiere is typically the goalpost that will lead to publication. Publication makes distribution of the play easier and more likely to get additional productions. 

Flashback Theater is appreciative for season sponsor, Applied Behavioral Advancements LLC, for making the passionate pursuit of theater possible all season long and to the Kentucky Foundation for Women for supporting this new work.

Performance Details

Saturday, February 11 at 7:00 p.m.

Stoner Little Theatre at Somerset Community College

808 Monticello Street Somerset, Kentucky

No admission fee

For More Information

Visit www.flashbacktheater.co/education or call (888) 394-FbTC. 

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