‘Faded Glory’ in Solana Beach takes rollicking romp through one man’s amazing life
By Diana Saenger
From scoundrel and murderer to military hero, Daniel Sickels lived an adventurous life in late-19th century America. “Faded Glory,” by playwright Tim Burns, explores Sickels’ journey, and will have its world premiere at the North Coast Repertory Theatre directed by David Ellenstein.
Sickels was a congressman, philanderer, embezzler, Civil War general and recipient of a Congressional Medal of Honor, among many other titles. Actor Andrew Barnicle, a long-time Ellenstein collaborator, said he’s excited to take on this character.
“Sickels was a very interesting guy and when I looked him up on the Internet, I found stories about him go on for 10 pages,” Barnicle said. “He lived a bizarre and fascinating life with scandals, taking part in the Battle of Gettysburg, fighting in the Spanish American War, and murdering his wife’s lover, who was the son of Francis Scott Key (a lawyer who wrote the “Star Spangled Banner.) He got off the murder wrap by pleading temporary insanity — and that was the first time that plea had been used.”
Barnicle said playwright Burns has done a great job fitting Sickels’ quirky history into the North Coast Rep structure and timeframe.
“Burns is having a lot of fun with this character trying to find the important moments in his life, and work them into the dialogue as Sickels awaits his Congressional Medal of Honor to be awarded. The play begins about a week or two before the award and people from his past start converging on him, even his former wife from Spain,” Barnicle said.
The production is a comedy and many laughs abound. “Consider this cranky and diluted old guy railing against the world,” Barnicle mused.
The cast includes Ben Cole, Frances Anita Rivera, Bruce Turk, Rachel Van Wormer and Shana Wride.
“I hope when audience members leave the theater, they will want to go home and look up this real-life guy to see that he really did all this stuff,” Barnicle said.
“Faded Glory,” runs May 28-June 22 at North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987 Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Solana Beach. Tickets are $37-$54 at (858) 481-1055 and www.northcoastrep.org