Presidential mom’s life detailed in Port Townsend show opening night

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND –– Bringing up a president isn’t easy, and neither is trying to encapsulate that experience in a short stage show.

But that’s what Sequim actress Carol Swarbrick will do starting tonight as she debuts her one-woman show, “Lillian Carter, the Lionmaker,” at Key City Public Theatre.

The play details the life of President Jimmy Carter’s mother, Lillian Carter, whom Swarbrick admires for her life, as well as for the well-rounded way the Georgia woman tackled racism in the post-Reconstruction South.

“She never felt that skin color mattered when it came to being worthy,” Swarbrick said.

“As a nurse, she would administer to white people all day in the hospital and then go home and care for her African-American friends.”

Opening tonight

“Lillian Carter, the Lionmaker” opens tonight and runs Thursday and Friday at the Key City Playhouse, 419 Washington St.

Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20.

The show is directed by James Rocco and details how Lillian Carter’s life as a nurse and mother of four instilled qualities that would help push progress in civil rights and women’s equality.

It spans Lillian Carter’s entire life, starting with her relationship with her forward-thinking father and ending with her life after the Carters left the White House.

Most importantly, Swarbrick said, it focuses upon her nurturing nature and the effect she had on her children as well as people around the world.

“In truth, I wish I could have been more like her for more of my life,” Swarbrick said. “Just doing this play has opened my eyes to ways of being a better person.”

“Lillian was a fun-loving, no-holds-barred gal who spoke her mind and loved baseball and professional wrestling (which she believed to be authentic).”

Tickets can be purchased by phoning 360-385-KCPT (5278), in person at the playhouse box office or online at www.keycitypublictheatre.org.

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Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at jsmillie@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: August 26. 2014 5:52PM
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