LEWISTON — The public and private lives of U.S. Sen. Margaret Chase Smith will be explored in “Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington,” a play scripted by Linda Britt.

Written in a tightly woven style, the play begins in the Maine senator’s girlhood years when she was captain of her high school’s state champion basketball team and ends with her death in 1995 at age 97.

Highlighted is Smith’s well-known “Declaration of Conscience” speech denouncing the excesses of Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s anti-Communist crusade. That speech delivered on the Senate floor on June 1, 1950, brought her national attention and demonstrated her courage and independence, as well as her condemnation of bigotry.

Britt has cast Sally Jones of Norway, director and performer for the Oxford Hills Music and Performing Arts Association, in the one-woman play. Jones is presently writing a musical about western Maine in collaboration with a composer.

“Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington” also warmly recounts many of the “firsts” achieved in Smith’s long and distinguished career. Mention is also made of the numerous awards and other distinctions bestowed upon her, culminating with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to her by President George Bush in July of 1989.

Britt, a professor at the University of Maine at Farmington and co-founder of Out of the Box Theater, Lewiston, with her husband, Stan Spilecki, will direct “Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington.”

Members of the production crew are Ellen Peters, assistant director and stage manager; Spilecki, technical director and scenic designer; Jackie McDonald and Loretta Perry, costumes; Michelle Washburn, props; Jeff Soifer, poster; Melody Driscoll, rehearsal prompter and Rachel Morin, publicist.

Out of the Box Theater received the Moss Hart Memorial Award for Community Theater of 2009 for its production of “Medea,” directed by Britt and performed in August.

“Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington” will be performed Feb. 19-28 at DownStage at L/A Arts, No. 5 Canal St., just off Pine Street. Seating is limited. Curtain is at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 19, 20, 26, 27; and at 2 p.m. on Feb. 21 and 28. Advance tickets, $10, may be reserved by calling 782-7228 or online at.laarts.org.


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