The Long Rail North

By Andrew Andrews

Miss Molly Barnes is an extreme example of white privilege: she plays on the front lawn of her rich daddy’s plantation, ordering slave children to do her bidding.

Then one day a stranger comes to town, one of a whole lot of strangers: black men dressed in blue uniforms who aren’t taking orders from her daddy.

The Long Rail North is the story of what happens next.

Molly (Jordyn Morgan) wakes up in a box car on a moving train, alone with the aforementioned “colored” stranger, Private Thomas Morgan (Xavier Rodney).

He claims to be saving her life, but twelve-year-old Molly wants nothing to do with him. So when a white stranger named Sargent Major Andrew Vickers (Rich Wisneski) appears out of nowhere, with southern charm and a lighter uniform, Molly is glad to see him.

Thomas—not so much.

A struggle ensues… then Molly is once again alone with Thomas.

When a recovering southern belle named “Coal Car” Cassie Flowers (Anna Hogan) jumps on the train, Molly is none-too-pleased to wake up and find her making out with Thomas.

Molly’s daddy, you see, warned her never to kiss a man like him, lest she catch the “African sickness that makes your skin all dark and lips all big.”

But the lot of them don’t know what trouble is until the train comes to an abrupt halt, and Union army Colonel Peter Forrest (David Berman) appears to take them all prisoners.

Twenty years in the making, The Long Rail North is a very strong script by playwright Michael Hagins, and we could easily see it evolving into a feature film of Hitchcock-level suspense.

For the time being, The Present Company and their director, Brock H. Hill, clearly has a lot of fun delivering the story to audiences at The New York International Fringe Festival, with the audience finding equally delightful the dark humor of its antiquated attitudes.

So hop on this train during one of its final two stops at FringeNYC, then come back here and tell us your impression of this suspenseful attempt to escape the Confederacy.

Your reviews can help others decide whether The Long Rail North is a ride worth taking, and your ratings help us help you find upcoming events you’re sure to love!


Andrew Andrews attended The Long Rail North at FringeHUB in Manhattan on Saturday, October 20, 2018 @ 7:00pm to write this review.