THE PORCH LIGHT shines for you. This comedic and heartfelt show “gives you in the feels” as we explore real-life issues and triumphs of the suburban family. We witness so many moments that are relevant today – seen through the simple front porch of a house, and all that went on… and was shared on it. An original work by Chicago Playwright, Felicia Pfluger that chronicles over 120 years (from 1893 through the present) of American life and family. Through powerful, hilarious and fun vignettes, we explore times of radical change in history, the context of cultural change, changes in the family unit, social awareness, wars… and our humanity. Be part of the stage premier. The porch light is on, children, it is time to come home.
Gallery of Images from the show
Notes from the Playwright/Director
Almost 18 months ago, I had an idea. I was quietly sitting on a majestic, old, front porch of a friend’s home when I spied some initials wreathed in a heart that some hopeful soul had carved into the rail. I pondered, if this porch would talk, what secrets would it share with us? I mused over the structure and history of the home. The variety of changes that had happened and had been witnessed from where I sat. The different cars, fashion trends and social customs. The radical changes in culture and history.
Children that gave their borning cries in this old structure. The elderly that might have breathed their last breath… after lives well lived. The weddings, homecomings, slumber parties, the first steps of a child – and all their firsts – their first kiss, their first day of school, first dance, first kiss, first job. The holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and everything in between that make the lives we share, rich and vibrant.
I thought about the importance of this porch – as a safe haven. A light that intertwines our neighbors, community, our families, our history, our humanity… and our hope. For on it, we are sheltered, we gather. We reflect, share, and well… love each other. And it is so necessary especially now, just as much as it was first built. I hope The Porch Light speaks to your hearts as well. We have had fun creating it for you… And now, the porch light is on, friends, it is time to come home.
~ Felicia Pfluger
P.S. – The play is geographically based in the Chicago suburbs. Four suburbs especially have history inlaid into it. You are welcome to hypothesize on it. ????
THE CHARACTERS AGE as much as 60 years in the show, so the cast must have their physicality, voices, and mannerisms reflect this accordingly.
*Paul Dale: Family Man, steadfast, provider.
*Dan Wellers: Single, Lone wolf, explorer
Florence Martin: Newlywed. A free-thinking, college-educated woman from a middle-class, supportive family. Hometown Rockford. Very lovely. Strong, Kind, resilient, forward-thinking. Social Activist. Eventually, she has three children. Emma, Abby, and Little Patrick. Sister of Cordelia, with whom she has a loving relationship with. Daughter of Harriet and Patrick Mayer. Whimsical. Truly in a love of the ages with James. Never accepted into James’ family, no matter how hard she tries. Loves dancing. Slow to anger. Easy to forgives.
James Martin: Aristocratic son of Isabel and Johnathon Martin. Newlywed who partially rebels from his father and mother by marrying Florence. Enthralled with Florence’s natural beauty and kindness. Is conflicted with his responsibilities towards his father’s empire and his beliefs about changing the world that is strengthened through his family. Works for his father though refused to live in the family mansion. Adores his wife, Florence Father of Emma, Abby, and Little Patrick. Loves to give gifts and read.
*Cordelia Mayer: Sister of Florence. A strong midwife who is in a Boston Marriage. Single and serious, with a wry wit. She comes to visit and assist Florence with her deliveries. Loves literature and her freedom.
*Emma Martin: Is a bit self-centered. Thrives on the praise of her Grandmother and eventually goes the path of a socialite. Becomes aloof. Eventually marries Wilson Cooper, who travels extensively.
Abby Martin: One of Florence and James’ twins. Fun, feisty, and family-focused. She works hard to make a difference in social justice. Loves to dance. Very practical. Very close to her parents. Eventually marries Joseph and has Eleanor, who is sweet and strong, though suffers awful colic as an infant.
Patrick Martin: The only son of Florence and James. James’ favorite. Very peaceful and loved by all. Not a mean bone in his body. Tries to do the right thing, even if it is hard. Willing to sacrifice. Impish to his sisters. Develops a close friendship with Hans, a German Boy who is an outcast. Eventually goes off to fight in WW1 and enlists without telling his family.
*Hans Werthman: Little Patrick’s best friend who goes off to fight for America. Noble and kind. Has to deal with racism.
*Harriet Mayer: Florence’s Mother. Married to Grandpa Patrick, Little Patrick’s namesake. A fun character who is in love with hubby. Rockford born. Raised two strong women. Moved in with Florence and James’ in their golden years and to assist with the grandchildren. Friends with the neighbors Olive and Eunice.
*Patrick Mayer: Florence’s Father. Sweet, but a bit crotchety. In love with his wife. Protective of his family. Grandpa Patrick has very set views on how to live right. Moved in with Florence and James’ in their golden years and to assist with the grandchildren. Friends with the neighbors Olive and Eunice.
*Eunice Walsh: Neighbor to the family. Practical. Does not approve of frivolities during wartime. She has a husband in an obsessive battle with a feisty squirrel.
*Olive Smithe: Neighbor to the family. Practical and protective. Olive does not approve of frivolities during wartime. Wry wit. Very suspicious of people unknown in the neighborhood. Has a son Joseph who spends time volunteering and eventually courts and marries Eleanor.
*Joseph Smithe: Courts and marries Abby, A sweet guy, good stock who loves to dance and loves Abby. Takes care to “do things right”.
1959 – NEW OWNERS
*Richard MacGregor: Husband to Opal. Father to Richard and Pearl. Loving and even-tempered. Sociable.
*Opal MacGregor: Wife to Thomas. Mother to Richard and Pearl. Steadfast. Kind. A keen observer. Loves playing penuckle.
*Thomas MacGregor: A sassy little guy who could be a future lawyer. Son to Richard and Opal. Has an imaginary friend. Annoyed ceaselessly by his sister, Pearl.
Pearl MacGregor: Daughter to Richard and Opal. Wants her brother, Thomas’ toys. Definitely the alpha in the family. Later becomes a cheerleader and dates Denny, who she almost marries after becoming pregnant in high school. Gives birth to a daughter, Stacia.
1970’s Friends of Pearl:
*Denise Brookhart: A romantic bookworm who reads romance novels, very curious and quietly playful.
*Sheila Jasper: Southern transplant who enjoys tawdry gossip. Loves girlie things and Elton John. Steals Pearl’s diary and reads it out loud.
*Ronnie Capone: Loves the Beatles. Organizer and list-maker of the group. Not the one to start trouble, but the one to join in.
*Wendy Brothers: Guitarist. Has a crush on Pearl’s brother, Thomas. A joiner. Loves the song “War”. Hates Yoko Ono.
*Denny Cooper: Pearl’s crush. The quarterback of the Football team with partying Peter Pan syndrome. Dated Pearl and proposed after she became pregnant. Was set to marry her.
1975 – NEW OWNERS
*Chris Gerety: Husband to Megan. An even keel dad, quiet and wise, to Wanda and Ian. Loves pepperoni pizza. Coaches baseball for Ian. Reads with his wife to the kids every night. Workaholic later in life. Forgiving.
Megan Gerety: Wife to Chris. Loving and supportive Mom to Wanda and Ian. Sees where a need is and tries to fill it. Surrogate mother to Sheltie. Makes a mistake later that she is constantly trying to atone for.
Wanda Gerety: Calm and matter-of-fact. Daughter of Megan and Chris. Sis to Ian. Just a terrific sister. Friend to Sheltie. Grows up and gets caught up in her career. She loses some faith in life but gets it back through helping her brother’s family and niece Kegan. Her husband has a hostile midlife crisis and gives her an awful ultimatum.
Ian Gerety: Loving son of Megan and Chris. Brother of Wanda. Protective of Sheltie, the neighbor, who he secretly has loved forever. Eventually marries Sheltie. Goes on to be in the military and fight in the Persian Gulf. He comes back with PTSD and has to fight for his life in a completely different way. Father of Kegan.
Sheltie Jackson: Neighbor of the Gerety family, whom help her, along with the entire neighborhood, whenever they can. Her mother died of cancer when she was eight, and her father unsuccessfully fights alcoholism and hoarding. She eventually breaks free of the abuse when she is 19. Later she marries Ian, and has a happy life with their beautiful daughter, Kegan, even though Ian fights the PTSD battle at home after fighting in the Gulf War.
*Sally Wolfe: Colleague of Megan. Jazzercise buddy. Branches out and opens her own business to get out from under the glass ceiling.
Kegan Gerety: Daughter of Ian and Sheltie. Sweet. Loving. Guitarist. Protective and proud of her military Dad early on. Loves her teddy bear. Later has a crush a bad boy from a band, Archie, when she is rebelling from her Dad. She has a close relationship with her Mom and Dad despite this… She comes to her senses through the comedic covert operations of her sweet older neighbor Juju, and her classmate and nerd/crush, Scott.
*Juju Baker: A sweet, but shrewd next-door neighbor who helped raise Kegan. Unassuming. Married to Al. Secretly knows a lot about Music from all genres. Hip but old fashioned. A “bad boys” worst nightmare.
*Archie Wellers: A “bad boy” that plays in a band, vocals, and guitar. A parents’ worst nightmare. Has a date with Kegan that runs into challenges when Juju, Scott and a school group project come into play.
*Scott Jennings: A smart guy that actually “does” school group projects. Delivers pizza. Has a huge crush on Kegan.
*Herb Newby: Married to Wanda. Caught up in a midlife crisis. Cheating on Wanda. Very self-centered.
Ian’s Buds – 1996
*Phil Martin: Squirrel hater. Funny guy.
*Dean Huber: More of a deep pal. Funny. At risk for job cutbacks.
*Bob Simpson: Obsessive about his yard.
*Jake Springer: Organic minded about his yard.
Playdate Moms – 2015
*Barbara Granger: OCD Cleaner, Feels Guilty about not being a perfect mom even though she is.
*Kathryn Culcheck: Lots of kids with conflicting world views.
*Brittany Spade: Practical, single mom trying to do too much. Just proposed to her long term boyfriend.
*Ashley Kavanaugh: Working Mom trying to balance it all. Seeking privacy and a few minutes alone for sanity. She has a kindergartener whose teacher is freaking her out.
*Elizabeth Demmings: Almost in a car accident. Frenzied. She misses the simplicity of the past.
* = Supporting roles which will allow actors multiple roles and extending acting ranges