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One River

Oct 8, 2016, 7:30 pm

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Dramatizing the journalism of the One River, Many Stories project, One River is an evocative exploration of place, examining what it means to live in the St. Louis River watershed. Written and directed by Tom Isbell.

Performances are Sept. 29 and 30, and Oct. 1, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 2 at 2 p.m. Seating is general admission. Tickets are $21 for adults, $16 for senior citizens and UMD faculty, $10 for non-UMD students and $8 for UMD students.

Playbill Director’s Notes:

When I was in college and graduate school, I spent each summer in the middle of Illinois doing documentary theatre. We were led by a University of Illinois professor named John Ahart, and we performed sixty-two nights a summer in a sweltering outdoor theatre, battling heat and cicadas and thunderstorms . . . and it was the most meaningful experience of my young life.

The plays we did told the stories of Abraham Lincoln’s rise to the White House; of three Illinois poets (Carl Sandburg, Edgar Lee Masters, Vachel Lindsay) in search of another Lincoln; of America from World War I to landing on the moon; of the strained relationship between Lincoln and Frederick Douglass; of the story behind Lincoln’s House Divided speech. The common denominator in all these plays – besides the fact that most revolved in some way around Abraham Lincoln –was that they were documentary in nature, and were stories that we felt needed to be told.

Those experiences were what led me to write Dear Finder back in 1997. That story, the Holocaust, is one that will always need to be told.

Last November I went to a meeting hosted by journalism professors John Hatcher and Jennifer Moore, where they laid out their vision for the One River, Many Stories project – to have as many storytellers from the region talk and write and report about one thing: the St. Louis River. I was smitten.

It’s easy to have blinders on in one’s discipline, especially in academia, and it has been our greatest joy getting out into the community and hearing stories we don’t normally hear. Talking to people we don’t normally get a chance to talk to.

But here’s the thing. These stories that you’re going to see and hear tonight are but a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the stories that could be told. That should be told. The impact of the St. Louis River on many people over many, many years is a far larger story than can be encapsulated in one evening of theatre.

But it’s a start.

A final note of gratitude. Theatre is challenging enough when you have a script. But when a production team and cast begins work on a play when the play isn’t finished, well, that requires not only extra effort, but also extra commitment and trust. I am grateful beyond words to these designers and actors and the entire production team for jumping into this river, even though we didn’t know always know how swift the current or where it would eventually take us.

And thank you for joining us. Now it’s your turn, right? What are your stories?

–Tom Isbell

one-river-umd

Details

Date:
Oct 8, 2016
Time:
7:30 pm
Event Category:

Venue

Dudley Experimental Theatre
1215 Ordean Court
Duluth, MN 55812 United States
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Phone:
218-726-8561

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