Court Martial at Fort Devens by Jeffrey Sweet

23 03 2012

The next play being put on by the Emerson Theater Collaborative (ETC) is a historical play about black women in the army during WWII. They joined to become nurses and were told by a racist general that they could not treat white soldiers and were demoted to cleaning duty. They go on strike and by disobeying the orders of a general are court martialed. They will either go to prison for standing up for themselves and wanting to be nurses, or go back to cleaning floors.

This is the illustration I created for ETC. I wanted it to be monochromatic, but also a play on the white uniforms of a nurse vs. the blue uniforms that the janitors wear. These women were confined unwillingly to clean toilets when in fact they were trained to be nurses.

You can see the play at the First United Methodist Church, 23 Willow Street, Mystic CT. A portion of the profits to benefit Military Child Education Coalition.

Friday, April 13, 2012 @ 8pm
Saturday, April 14, 2012 @ 8pm
Sunday, April 15, 2012 @ 4pm
Thursday, April 19, 2012 @ 8pm
Friday, April 20, 2012 @ 8pm
Saturday, April 21, 2012 @ 8pm
Sunday, April 22, 2012 @ 4pm

Tickets are $25/person, $20 for students and seniors. Call 860.705.9711 for tickets or go to:

This illustration was created in watercolor.


The Big Bank

5 05 2011

This summer coming to ETC is an original musical The Big Bank by Jacob and Daniel Seligman. Here is my interpretation of the concept of the play:

The Big Bank

The play is about a bank that enjoys foreclosing on businesses and taking all of their things. The main character of the play, Stuart, is tasked with the job of foreclosing on a flower shop. Incidentally, he falls in love with the shop keeper, Iris.

I played around with a bunch of different themes for this one, and I got kind of stuck on the bank being an evil empire. So, originally, I came up with this icon, which didn’t really convey the right message. (Since, in the end the bank isn’t so evil.) Although I really like this icon, which is why I’m sharing it with you. 🙂 Ultimately the story is about hope and love and so this image was not the best to convey that.

Evil BankFrom this point, I got a little stuck. So I cleared my head and started over. I needed to do something with the flower image as well as have money be a central theme. Then it came to me! He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not, and the petals of the flower are money. So there’s a two-for-one image here. There is the love story, and the uncertainty of that, as well as the bank just take take taking money.

The Big Bank

Above is the illustration “in-action”. It’s pen & ink and watercolor. I wanted to keep the lighthearted feeling of it, because after all it is a comedy! The title of the play is also hand drawn to add to that fun feeling of it.

The play will be running in Mystic at the end of July. To read more about the Big Bank, and find out how to get tickets go to

Chestina Vanessa Poulson by ETC

4 05 2010

Emerson Theater Collaborative presents: Chestina Vanessa Poulson! This weekend and next at the Latham Chester Store in Noank, CT.

Here is a synopsis from ETC’s website:

Chestina Vanessa Poulson is the story of a post holocaust family re-settling in a remote corner of the Eastern Shore of Virginia and Maryland. Told in the voice of Chessie, the black woman who comes to work for the Ehrenwald family, it is non-fiction, memoir of sorts. Opening in 1952, this is a portrayal of two cultures – how each experiences and transcends the isolation of race and ethnicity in a segregated environment.

ETC is collaborating with the Seahorse Restaurant and running a special on Mother’s Day. If you bring your ticket to the restaurant you will get a glass of wine, or dessert on the house. Or if you bring your receipt from the Seahorse to the ticket booth, you will get 10% OFF!

May 7, 2010 8:00 pm
May 8, 2010 8:00 pm
May 9, 2010 4:00 pm

May 14, 2010 8:00 pm
May 15, 2010 8:00 pm
May 16, 2010 4:00 pm

Tickets are $20, or $18 for  students and seniors. Buy tickets online here, or call 860.705.9711.

The artwork is created in Illustrator for a graphic feel. The play is set in the 50’s and 60’s so I wanted to use a font that was prevalent in that time period. Initially, I created two thumbnails, and they liked both of them! We decided to use one for the cover and all the promotional materials. The other image is being used inside the program to accompany Melanie’s description of why she wrote the play. Here is the other drawing I created.

Created in pencil, the original is about 5″ x 7″.

To learn more about the Emerson Theater Collaborative go to their website.

Next up is Gray Matters, by Jacques Lamarre. Imagery coming soon…