History is all about connections: between people, between events and most of all between past and present.
Mechanicsburg playwright Cindy Rock Dlugolecki’s latest effort, “The Hand that Holds the Quill,” combines some personal history that links her to the writing of the U.S. Constitution, along with the voices of wives and children of the Founding Fathers and some lesser-known African-Americans who already were advocating for the abolition of slavery in the new nation.
“There have been many unheard voices – silenced voices – in our country’s history,” Dlugolecki said. “The play recognizes people whose voices have been left out – women, the Black community, immigrants. The framers are still a very important part of the play, but they are not center stage. Rather, the play gives voice to others who were in the shadows.”
The two-act play with music will be staged for the first time on Sept. 16, 17 and 19 in the Capital BlueCross Theatre on the Summerdale campus of Central Penn College. There will also be an invitation-only showing in Philadelphia on Sept. 18.
At the center of “The Hand that Holds the Quill,” which is set in September 1787, is Philadelphia’s Jacob Shallus, an ancestor of Dlugolecki and the man chosen by the framers to write out the new Constitution in its final form. According to a biography of the Pennsylvania native by Arthur Plotnik, Shallus was facing debtors’ prison at the time, so the $30 stipend to engross the historic document was undoubtedly most welcome.
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