By RACHEL MEYERS
Recollection is one of the most powerful forms of story telling, especially in the case of American history.
An even more powerful effect is achieved when the story becomes visual, engaging more of our senses and leaving behind an impression of some sort. It is the goal of Psychology/Anthropology professor and OBOC committee participant, Karrol Jordan, to bring to life the story and historical concept of Carlotta Walls Lanier’s memoir, “A Mighty Long Way.”
It is a collaborative effort between the Committee, Jordan, and her AN 103 students, that will bring the theme of Lanier’s book to life. “Structurally, what we want to show is someone’s recollection. This is where the students become actors, with a great deal of makeup and verve, a lot of verve,” Jordan explained about her project.
Students will help recreate scenes of historical significance from the era in which the book was written. Parallel sketches will be given as the events recalled by personas from that era are reenacted by Jordan’s class, “what’s happening is they’re remembering and then someone else from the class will act it out. They will be that person in that setting 50+ years ago.”
Not only does Jordan want to represent the stories and the theme of Lanier’s book but, in the spirit of diversity, she is also determined to represent other issues of the time period. America was intended to be a great “melting pot,” providing a home for many ethnicities and social groups yet, although it still is a stew of many belief systems and races, we seem to be categorized and isolated within certain mindsets and labels.
In an effort to go back to our original historical roots, Jordan is including the entire demographics of her classes in this production, as well as many different aspects of the time period; “…we are diverging, at least to some extent, from the specifics. In general, it’s still very much that era and the whole idea of claiming your right as an American, the right to education, the right to vote, the right to public accommodation.”
Although much excitement and planning is going into this performance, as with any show, much anticipation and cramming is also involved as deadlines approach quickly. Snow days have, no doubt, been a source of great contention for everyone this semester, creating backups and delays everywhere.
Not only will this be a first time experience for Jordan, but also for her students who are getting a crash-course in acting for this special event. Though canceled school days have shortened the amount of preparation time for everyone, Jordan is confident in the abilities of everyone involved in the production, from the students, to committee members, as well as faculty members who will be donating their time and talent to this historical performance.
The one-time event will take place on April 9, 2014, during student activity time, 2:00-3:22p.m., in the Fine and Performing Arts Theatre. The event will be free and open to college students as well as the community.
The Little Rock Nine
Photos Courtesy of google images