Samantha King Steps in as Mary Dyer HERETIC: The Mary Dyer Story at Snow Camp and Chapel Hill
Snow Camp Friends Meeting, Chapel Hill Friends Meeting and Chuck Fager present Heretic -- The Mary Dyer Story September 13, 14 and 15.
Producer Chuck Fager released this statement today:
We were shocked to learn just a few days ago that Jeanmarie Simpson has been diagnosed with a devastating medical condition, which will make her unable to present Heretic here on September 13-15.
Our hearts go out to her, and husband Dan. But nevertheless, "the shows will go on" as scheduled, at Spring and Chapel Hill Friends Meetings. Jeanmarie insisted on that, so just before she began an arduous course of treatment, she arranged for another accomplished actor, Samantha King, to carry on. (The one schedule change is that there will be no filming of the performance on Saturday, September 14, as was previously planned.)
Samantha King is both a distinguished actor on her own and a frequent collaborator with Jeanmarie in numerous productions over many years.
Samantha King hails from Northern California, where she studied at The American Conservatory Theatre, The Academy of Media and Theatre Arts, and The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She did educational children's theatre for ten years touring schools in Northern California, Denver, Dallas, and Atlanta. She then wrote The Best Me which currently tours as part of Kaiser Permanente's Educational Theatre Programs. Her play Chicken Dance was performed at The Edmonton Fringe Festival. She was a member of The Actor's Ensemble of Berkeley, where she choreographed and played Velma Kelly in Chicago. She also appeared as Lorraine Sheldon in The Man Who Came to Dinner, Kitty Duvall in The Time of your Life and choreographed Kiss Me Kate. At The Masquer's Playhouse, she choreographed New Girl in Town and Kismet. She was a founding member of Central Works in Berkeley, CA, where she was in Halcyon Days, Two Precious Maidens Ridiculed, Golden Era, and wrote Roux. Her friendship with Jeanmarie Simpson took her to Pullman, Washington, where she played Truvy in Steel Magnolias, Flo in The Odd Couple, Bonnie in Anything Goes, and Rose in Bye, Bye, Birdie. In Reno, Nevada, Jeanmarie produced and directed a version of The Tempest interwoven with the original cast recording of Hair. Samantha choreographed and played Ariel. Sam has been teaching theater in New Orleans Public Schools since 2000. Trained in Arts Integration at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, she developed the elementary theatre program at Lusher Charter School where she taught elementary, middle, and high school students for 14 years. Currently an Arts Coach with KID smART, she develops and implements professional development, and has an Arts Literacy residency at Langston Hughes Academy. She is also a member of The Greater New Orleans Writing Project, and has taught Creative Writing at Tulane's Upward Bound program.
"I am absolutely honored to have the opportunity to put voice to this breathtaking piece of poetry," Samantha said. "The ideal would, of course, be to have its creator perform it, but the text is so riveting and complete that no matter the reader--it will land and take root in the listener's soul."
Simpson added, from her home in Arizona, "If there's one thing I've learned from the process of walking in Mary Dyer's shoes for the past decade, it's that the only way to do it is to see it through her eyes. Something significant and important is happening here. Not only am I not performing in Snow Camp and Chapel Hill, but Samantha King IS performing, and that's not incidental. As Quakers, we know that to worshipfully approach everything reveals finer, higher and more astonishing outcomes than we ever imagined. I have faith in Sam and in Chuck. The rest is window dressing."
We'll have more to say about the play in the coming days. But now our prayers are with Jeanmarie and her husband Dan as they face this grave challenge.
We're pulling for you, Friend [Jeanmarie], you're a champ. We had hoped to do these shows with you; now we'll do them for you.
PS. Reservations continue to be taken at marydyerplay.com