“Welcome to my city!”
I can only imagine what it must have been like for those living in Atlanta during the Cotton States and International Exposition of 1895. Janece Shaffer, an Atlanta playwright, wrote the play The Geller Girls that is currently premiering at the Alliance Theatre through February 9 in Atlanta, Georgia. My parents and I were fortunate to catch one of their performances and I can honestly tell you we walked away mesmerized and in even more awe of our beautiful city.
Nearly 30 years after the Civil War had ended and Atlanta was rebuilding, the world came to Atlanta for the 1895 Cotton States and International Exposition in what is now Piedmont Park. This was a time for innovation and this scene provided the stage for new technologies as well as new ideals.
The play does not focus on what the exposition was like, but rather it focuses on an Atlanta family and its impact on them. Two sisters, Louisa (Ann Marie Gideon) and Rosalee (Courtney Patterson) begin to realize their place in this world since their minds have become more “open” their world becomes as a result of the exposition. Rosalee, the independent older sister, wishes to run her own dress shop in Atlanta while her younger sister, the pretty Louisa that is set to marry one of the neighborhood boys.
Through this play the guest has a glimpse into Southern living in the late 1800’s and realizes how it must have felt to grow up as a Southern girl in a world that was changing faster than one could keep up with.
The Geller Girls is a charming play and tailor-made for Atlanta. I was captivated and am looking forward to taking one of my friends to enjoy this play this week.
If only someone would turn it into a movie. I would love to see that!
Image from The Alliance Theatre website