"Every day an adventure ... every day a life"
A play about real-life pioneer women
Valery Daemke • Doreen Dunn
Kathleen Gaffney • Nancy Sellin
Review of the original production at the Victory Theatre in Los Angeles
THE INTERNATIONAL ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
June 16, 1985
The time is from 1845 to 1895. The conditions are difficult. The stories are those of pioneer women, bound together by their lives in a hostile land known as Kansas. The name of the play is “Frontiers.” It’s marvelous.
The 30 women whose tales are told here emerge as heroes in the highest sense, not for great individual deeds, but for their courage, perseverance and caring.
“Frontiers” is a world of wagon trains and stagecoaches. It is a place where the sight of a single tree amidst the vast, rolling plain, is an object of wonder. There is life on the frontier, and instant death; calamity and renewal. As tales unfold, the mind’s eye paints a fully fleshed portrait of those times when the Great Plains remained a territory to be conquered and the heart beats in sympathy for those who settled there.
The material in “Frontiers” is as rich as the soil that drew settlers by the wagonload to Kansas in the first place. Writers Valery Daemke, Doreen Dunn, Kathleen Gaffney and Nancy Sellin did extensive research into the lives of real pioneer women, and the stories told here are true, which adds a special dimension to the play.
As a whole, “Frontiers” looks to be somewhat of a masterwork, as if the souls of the pioneers have taken control of the stage to tell a curious world just how it was they lived and dreamed … it remains haunting long after the final curtain.