Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Comrades Mine. It was about a girl named Emma (Justine C. Turner) who fought in the Civil War as a man. And she had a bunch of friends that she met in the war. The play is about what happened during this war and what she experienced. She doesn't stay for the entire war because she deserts the war. Desertion is like the worst thing you can do during the war; it means to leave the place that you took in the war. She got sick and was wounded but she didn't want to go to the hospital because she didn't want anybody to find out she was girl because then they might ask her to leave the war because women couldn't fight at this time in history. They just wanted women to stay home or be a nurse and not get to do any of the adventurous work. They didn't want them to get hurt because they thought that they were weak. But women are not weak; they are awesome! They are as awesome as men. Emma Edmonds was also a spy. This is what I think of girl spies. Wooo hooo! This show is about how people get to know each other and, when they change, it just doesn't really feel right. There is a way to overcome it by getting to know them in the way they are now.
There were two characters that were clerks. There names were Nate (Manny Buckley) and Charley (Nate Santana). They are researching to try to get Emma a pension because I think they think that since she served for 2 years, which is a half of the war, that she should get money. I think the author (Maureen Gallagher) put them in the play to show us that they are really good friends but racism is still going on. I think that in this time things weren't good enough for black people because they couldn't go into places other people could without getting hurt. There aren't slaves, but there is racism, which is one of my least favorite things in the world. Nate and Charley are always talking about where they can eat food together, but black people are not welcome in all places, so Nate is kind of nervous. They were also really funny, because it was funny how they were always talking about where they could eat. There was something really funny that happened. At the end of the show, when Nate tells Charley, "I found a good place we can eat." Charley says, "How's the stew?" and then Nate says, "Horrible."
There was a scene when Emma told Jerome (Bryan Breau) that she was in love with him and she also told him she was a girl. Two big things in one scene! He is like really surprised because he's like: "You're a boy!" This is before gay marriage was really known about as gay marriage. I liked that it was romantic: that she just pronounced that she was in love with him without being like, "maybe he doesn't like me." If I were just going to tell someone that I was in love with them, I would have thought about all the things that could go wrong. But she just thought "I have to tell him! I just have to! Or otherwise it might be too late!" It is sad but also romantic that she just wanted to tell him. It is kind of sad when we find out at the end of the play that she could have married him because the girl that Jerome was betrothed to got married to another guy.
There was a really funny part when Emma meets a guy that is wearing a kilt (Joseph Stearns) and she is just looking at him like, "Why is this guy wearing a skirt?" Because he's of Scottish descent. He is from New York and New York fought in the Civil War. I think this scene is in the play because it is kind of funny that she is like "why are you wearing a skirt" but he just wants to tell people about his history. She's like, you're a man and wearing a skirt and I'm a woman and wearing pants."
One of my favorite characters was Poe (Brad Harbaugh) because he gave Emma the job of spying. She has to find out about what the other side is going to do. Her plan is to dress up like a slave, but then Caleb (Manny Buckley) said that wouldn't work because they know the difference between a black person and a white person. So then she decided to dress up...like a woman! Caleb was one of the most touching parts, and I was actually crying. His two friends had died trying to cross so then they could be free. When she says she's sorry about his two friends and he had to say one of the names, he looked so sad and lonely--it was just horrifying.
When Emma tells her friends Milton (Brian J. Hurst), Damon (John Arthur Lewis) and Will Shakespeare (Peter Eli Johnson) that she is a woman, they all have different kinds of reactions. I know that you are thinking, "Wait, her friend was Will Shakespeare? He was dead like 200 years ago!" But this isn't the Will Shakespeare. He wasn't a playwright. He was just a Will Shakespeare. He was just like, "Wow! That's like totally ridiculous. He was a boy. You're a girl! That's awesome!" And Damon's reaction was like, "I get to finally see you again even though you deserted us and you're a girl now!" He understands why she deserted because of her being a girl and doctors usually take off people's clothes when they go to the doctor's or the hospital. And Milton has the exact opposite reaction of what Damon and Will had. His was, "You're a girl! I hate you now!" I found it sad that Milton was like really really mad, like hated her, for doing that. There is one second where he is not angry at her, and that is like the last scene of the play.
People who would like the show are people who like the Civil War, girls that dress up like guys, and Will Shakespeare. People should go see this show because it is funny but also very touching. It is the coolest way to learn about the Civil War because it is a play! You get to see funny things as well as historic things.
Photos: Tom McGrath