Newsmakers: Drama Club to Present Uyesugi Tribute

PHS Drama Club’s latest production is a mash-up of works brought to us from the mind of one of Paoli High School’s most beloved teachers: Ruth Uyesugi. The drama club will be performing one of her senior plays, along with a few of her monologues and scenes from other plays. The production will be at the old Hillcrest high school.

For those who may not know her, Uyesugi (called “Mrs. U” by most) was a PHS graduate. She went to Earlham College in Richmond, where she met her husband. She became a teacher and a writer. She has been teaching at PHS for 58 years, and has written many senior plays for her students. Some of her work has been published, including monologues and her only novel, Don’t Cry, Chiisai.

Drama director Maria Wishart chose to do a production of only Uyesugi’s work to honor her.

“Paoli High School’s drama owes its beginnings to Ruth,” said Wishart. Uyesugi continues to attend auditions and help cast roles.

The main part of the production will be the play “To Anna Jane Maris, With Love.” Uyesugi wrote it for the class of 1982. Set in 1939, the play is about a teacher who feels she has failed her students. Wishart chose this play because of this theme.

“Every teacher has moments when they feel like they’ve failed,” said Wishart.

This play was also chosen because it says a lot about Uyesugi as an educator, and the drama club feels it honors her the most. One of the main characters, Mary Jane, is also said to be Uyesugi’s representation of herself.

The drama club is very excited to be doing a production in honor of Mrs. U who is much loved and appreciated, and this production is very important to everyone involved.

“We benefit from what Ruth has started,” said Wishart.

The play will be September 29 at 3 p.m. at the Hillcrest Apartment Auditorium.

Correction: Ruth Uyesugi graduated from Earlham College in Richmond, not Indiana University.

Story by Lindsay Begley
Photos by Heather Brown