From contributed reports
Retired diplomat and county resident Bill Ryan of Amissville has taken on a new challenge as a playwright with his third play about Thomas More entitled “Thomas More: The Last Hour.” The play will be performed at a “Renaissance in Rappahannock” gala at Rappahannock Cellars on Saturday, May 8, by actors that include Rappahannock’s Howard Coon, who will play the title character, as well as Ryan’s daughter, Susan Ryan, an actress from New York.
A special admiration for More, the Renaissance-era diplomat and lawyer, has inspired Ryan to write these short plays or interludes on important periods in More’s life. During those turbulent times in 16th-century England, More courageously stood his ground and refused to sign an oath to Henry VIII, being ultimately beheaded because of his refusal. More is recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church and the Church of England.
“The Last Hour” portrays the touching interplay between More and his favorite daughter Margaret or “Meg,” sent to persuade him in his prison cell to sign the oath as she had done. It also shows More’s tireless wit, even while being taken to the scaffold. Event coordinators anticipate a full house will attend this third gala on to enjoy the play, five-course dinner with open bar, other Renaissance entertainment, as well as a silent and live auction. The gala is a fund-raiser for Chelsea Academy, a Catholic middle-high school in Front Royal which will begin its third academic year in the fall. Details at chelseaacademy.org/event.