Bull Run/Manassas Study Guide

PDF pageEmail pagePrint page

Prepared by Cathy Kaemmerlen

Program Description
BULL RUN/MANASSAS is a duo program with actor/musicians Cathy Kaemmerlen and Scott DePoy, depicting the first major battle of the American Civil War through the words of some two dozen characters, from both the North and the South. From the glimmer, to the onset, to the battle itself, to the after effects, through monologues, poignant and insightful, funny and tearful, and through authentic period music, BULL RUN (Northern name)/MANASSAS (Southern name) brings to life this vital period in American history.

Playwright Biography
Cathy Kaemmerlen, author, actress, historical interpreter, playwright, and storyteller, is known for her variety of characters, one-woman shows, and for bringing history to life.  A performer and “creator of shows” since she can remember, she has toured in schools coast to coast, since receiving a BA in English/elementary education from UNC-Charlotte, and a MFA in dance performance/choreography/theatre at the University of Wisconsin.  She tours some 20 current shows which she wrote, through the Georgia and South Carolina Touring Arts Rosters, Fulton County Teaching Museums, G.E.T. Programs in the Schools, and through her own production company, Tattlingtales Productions. She is the author of four books and many plays, including one commissioned by the DeKalb Historical Society. Most recently she was commissioned by the Plains Chautauqua Society to write and appear in the one-woman show:  The Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail.

Performers Biographies
Sara Gaare
has been a teaching artist for the past two years, performing all around metro Atlanta. She also teaches and performs improv and sketch comedy in Atlanta with the Clarkston Community Center, The Village Theater, and Highwire Comedy Co. She created Power Suit, a monthly, all female comedy variety show she hosts and performs sketches in. Previously she lived in Chicago where she trained and performed at iO, The Second City, The Annoyance, ComedySportz, and many others. There she created the award winning sketch group MRS. that performed all around the city and did many sketch comedy festivals. Graduate of Pebblebrook Performing Arts High School in Cobb County and Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, she is the daughter of Cathy Kaemmerlen.
Trevor Winfield GobleTrevor is a proud graduate of Kennesaw State University with a BA in Theatre and Performance Studies. He’s a professional actor in Atlanta. He was last seen as Barlow in Edward Foote at the Alliance Theatre. Other credits include: Philadelphia, Here I Come! (Arís Theatre), XPT 2014 (Center for Puppetry Arts), The Man Who Came to Dinner (Georgia Ensemble Theatre) and The Red Herring (The Collective Project, Inc.). When not acting on stage, he’s still close by as a teaching artist for the Alliance Theatre and as a performer/playwright for The Children’s Museum of Atlanta.

Background of Art Form
Telling stories is an oral tradition, dating back to when mankind first developed a language or form of communication.  Storytelling is a universal way of passing down information to be saved and remembered for generations to come.  It is an interactive art form in which the storytellers’ passion for the story, material, and information is passed on to the audience, who sorts through, stores, and synthesizes what is heard.

Teachers, please read this to your students before the performance.
Today we are going to watch an original play by two actors Cathy Kaemmerlen and Scott DePoy about the first battle of the American Civil War, the  battle of Bull Run (the northern name)/Manassas (the southern name.)  The play lasts 50 minutes and will take us through the lives of several dozen people whose lives were changed by that first battle that occurred in August of 1861.  The actors use letters and true stories of the characters they portray to paint a picture of that period.  We will see how people felt at the beginning of the war and how during the course of time, how their feelings changed.  There will be a chance to ask questions at the end of the program.

Warm Up Questions to set the stage for engaging students
What were the historic events that led to the Civil War?
What do you think it felt like to leave home for the first time and go to war?
What do you think it felt like to have a loved one go off to war?
Do you have any ancestors who fought in the Civil War?
How would you feel the evening before a battle was to begin?
What would you be willing to go to war to fight for?

Characters in the show
Scynthia Catherine Stewart (daughter) and Walter Washington Stewart (father) (Southern)
Grace Bedell (Northern)
Abraham Lincoln (Northern)
Jefferson Davis (Southern)
Varina Davis (Southern)
John George Nicolay (Northern)
General Irvin McDowell (Northern)
Eli Landers (son) (Southern)
Susan Landers (mother) (Southern)
Rose Greenhow (Southern)
General PT Beauregard (Southern)
Virginia McLean (Southern)
John Taylor (Northern)
Robert Hunt Rhodes (Northern)
Cpl Sanford Branch (son) (Southern)
Charlotte Branch (mother) (Southern)
Talullah Hansell (girlfriend) (Southern)
Annie Etheridge (Northern)
Cpl Samuel L. English (Northern)
Congressman Alfred Ely (Northern)
Sally Tompkins (Southern)
Major Roberdeau Wheat (Southern)

watershed moment:  something that happens to change your life forever
secede:  to break away
Yankees:  term used to describe the Northern soldiers
Rebels:  term used to describe the Southern soldiers
Confederate States of America:  the 11 state southern nation that seceded from the Union

Reflect After the show
Discuss/debate issues such as why a Civil War was necessary.
Discuss reactions to the show.  What characters stood out the most in your mind and why?
Why do you think some women fought in the war?
Would you have fought in the war if you lived then?
What does the expression, “War is a necessary evil” mean?
Do you think music helped depict the mood of the play?

Songs used in the show:
“Parting Friends”
”Old Abe Lincoln Came Out of the Wilderness”
”Battle Hymn of the Republic”
”Rally Round the Flag, Boys”
”Just Before the Battle, Mother”
”Bonnie Blue Flag”
”Flight of the Doodles”

-INSIDE LINCOLN’S WHITE HOUSE by John Hay, Southern Illinois Press, c.1997.
-WEEP NOT FOR ME, DEAR MOTHER by Elizabeth Whitley Roberson, Pelican Press, c.1998.
-CHARLOTTE’S BOYS by Mauriel Phillips Joslyn, Rockbridge Publishing, c.1996.
BULL RUN by Paul Fleischmann, Laura Geringer Press, c.1993.
-transcriptions of an interview with Scynthia Catherine Stewart, Sweetwater Creek State Park
-WOMEN WHO SPIED by A. A. Hoehling, Madison Books, c.1976.
-LETTERS TO LINCOLNby Harold Holtzer, Southern Illinois Press, c. 1993.
-GRACE’S LETTER TO LINCOLN by Connie and Peter Roop, Hyperion, c. 1998.

Post Performance question for reflection
How does war affect everyone?  Talk about the trickle down effect.