A touching story of loss and life

Kate Rose Reynolds (seated) and Katee Drysdale play sisters Eveline and Kathleen Donnelly in the Scripps Ranch Theatre production of “And Neither Have I Wings to Fly.” (photo by Ken Jacques)

A touching story of loss and life

A  heartwarming tale of family love, loss and life comes to Scripps Ranch when Scripps Ranch Theatre (SRT) presents “And Neither Have I Wings to Fly,” Nov. 8-Dec. 8 at the theatre’s home on the campus of Alliant International University.

The play tells the story of a family dealing with the loss of its matriarch after a long illness. One daughter struggles on to decide if she’s making the right decision as her wedding nears. Her sister had been hiding a scholarship application and now has to decide whether to pursue that or stay to care for her grief-stricken father while also dealing with emerging feelings for a new man in her life.

Written by Ann Noble, the play was first staged in Chicago in 1995. It was there and then that Jacquelyn Ritz, director of the SRT production, first saw the play and liked it so much that she returned the next night to see it again. It was Ritz, herself, who suggested the play to SRT Artistic Director Jill Drexler and lobbied for its addition to this year’s season. In lauding the play’s script, Ritz described the characters as captivating.

“All of the characters become very close to you,” she said. “We can all identify with at least one, if not a couple, of them because there’s two generations – the parents and the young adults – and there’s this group of seven people who are all pursuing something. They’re all on this journey where in a week they get to know each other a little better and change each other’s lives.”

While the play deals with serious issues like loss of a spouse and mother, Irish storytelling throughout the play and familial comedy add laughs to the story.

“So many of (the characters) love to make each other laugh, so there’s humor in it, but it’s not a comedy,” Ritz said. “The laugher comes from real human connection.”

Ultimately, however, it’s a story about life, relationships and the struggle of grief.

“So much of this play is about forgiveness, having honest and beautiful relationships with the people around you, and being strong and digging deep to figure out how to keep going when the world gets dark,” Ritz said.

The cast of the play includes Walter Ruskin as Peter Donnelly, Sara Jane Nash as (the ghost of) Moira Donnelly, Kate Rose Reynolds as Eveline Donnelly, Katee Drysdale as Kathleen Donnelly, and Paul Eddy as Charlie Doyle.

Taking the reins of the play is Ritz, who has previously directed “Accomplice” and “Communicating Doors” at Scripps Ranch Theatre.

Scripps Ranch Theatre is on the campus of Alliant International University, 9783 Avenue of Nations. “And Neither Have I Wings to Fly” begins its run Nov. 8 and will play Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through Dec. 8. To reserve seats, call (858) 578-7728. For ticket price information, visit scrippsranchtheatre.org.

Kate Rose Reynolds (left) plays Eveline Donnelly and Paul Eddy (right) plays Charlie Doyle in the family drama “And Neither Have I Wings to Fly,” running Nov 8 – Dec 8 at Scripps Ranch Theatre. (photo by Ken Jacques)
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