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The Old Settler
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Interviews 1

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Savoy Ballroom Scene Study

Print Version
 

Quilly's Reverie: Key Scene Study

 

Interviews Page One

John Henry Redwood, Playwright


John Henry Redwood 
"When Quilly has to reveal her separation from Herman, that's a very tough moment for both sisters. Herman has been the bone of contention between these two for a long, long time. Remember, she comes into this household bearing a yoke of lies around her neck. And she comes very sorry that she has done what she has done. But there are some people who can't say I'm sorry. They try to show it in any number of ways, but they just can't say it. So this is big for her. It's also big for Elizabeth, because now she has her apology, and being the nurturer that she is, we know that she still loves her sister and that she is finally going to forgive her. All of those years there was a band-aid over this wound and now the band-aid has been taken off. The wound has now been healed."

"Where Quilly's revelation scene falls in the play is dictated by the fact that she is very vulnerable and she is going to be left alone. Throughout the play we have heard how Mama has taken care of her, Elizabeth has taken care of her, Herman has taken care of her. Now her sister is going to take off to be with someone. She is faced with the prospect of being left alone for the first time in her 53, 54, 55 years, to take care of Quilly on her own. That has to be a very scary thing for her. That is one of the things that prompts that revelation, that prompts that apology."

 


Behind the scenes
 
John Henry Redwood behind the scenes with cast members Phylicia Rashad and Debbie Allen

 

Shauneille Perry, Screenwriter


Shauneille Perry 
"In the play, the major problem between Quilly and Elizabeth stemmed from Quilly's seduction of the man who was to have been Elizabeth's husband. That's all that was said. In the revelatory scene Elizabeth said, 'You took him away from me,' and Quilly said, 'He didn't really love you.' I always felt that there needed to be an additional motivation for Quilly's strong behavior. Something had to be revealed to make Quilly behave the way she was behaving, otherwise it was mean-spirited. I had at one time done a whole history of Elizabeth having known Herman when they were young women in the South, but the history wasn't liked. Finally, it was revealed that Herman left Quilly, indeed she found him with another woman. That would certainly be reason enough for someone to be extremely bitter and small-minded. She did this act against her sister, but then had been betrayed on top of it. So was it really worth it?"

"I would say that The Old Settler is about growing old, about being lonely, about women. I think that Quilly is terribly afraid of being alone. She feels deserted by everyone. And I thought that in adding the Herman factor it's a double desertion. The parents died, there was no one else. And also I felt that Quilly felt Elizabeth got everything, because she was the younger sister."

 

Debbie Allen, Director


Debbie Allen 
"Working with the writer, I re-designed the scene where Quilly finally tells the truth about what happened between Herman and herself, because I wanted to create a scene that began with Quilly and then dissolved into a flashback. I wanted to see Quilly and Herman in the good times, and then see them in the bad times and then come back to Quilly in the present. This way we get to see more of Quilly's backstory."

"The DP and I designed it so that the camera went in and creeped on Quilly slowly, and when she talks about a storm coming the lights actually change and then we go to black. And when we come back to her the lights come back up. It's a beautiful sequence."

"For the scene where Quilly reveals the truth about Herman, I directed Phylicia to simply listen and to go deep into how she feels."

 


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Debbie Allen

Debbie Allen talks about the scene

 

 
Synopsis   |   Interviews Page One   |   Interviews Page Two

 

 

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