Written by John Henry Redwood
In World War II Harlem, New York, a fifty-five-year-old spinster (or as they were called in those days—an Old Settler), Elizabeth Borny, takes in a young male roomer, Husband Witherspoon, to help her with the rent. Husband has come to Harlem from South Carolina to search for his girlfriend, Lou Bessie Preston. Also living with Elizabeth is her sister, Quilly McGrath, fifty-three. There is an ominous cloud of tension that hangs over Elizabeth and Quilly's relationship. This tension is further exacerbated when Elizabeth and Husband take to liking each other. Quilly, who doesn't like Husband living with them in the first place, surely doesn't approve of their "carrying on," especially since Elizabeth is old enough to be Husband's mother. It is this "carrying on" that exposes a thirty-year-old wound which, until now, only had a bandage—now the wound can heal for the sisters.
"THE OLD SETTLER [is]…Redwood's gentle, sweet-natured comedy about life in Harlem in 1943. It's a play that chooses to remember the good without the bad, being about the relationship of two aging, church-going sisters…and what happens when a handsome young fellow, newly arrived from the Deep South, rents a room in the apartment they share…For all of its decent sentiments, THE OLD SETTLER avoids sentimentality. It has the authenticity and lack of pretense of an Early American sampler."
5/05/2017 - 5/28/2017
Paul Robeson Theatre