During last week’s Veterans Day celebration, three students participated in a reader’s theater performance based off of interviews from World War I in White Library.
“There were five oral histories originally from different soldiers that had been interviewed in the ‘70s,” said Hannah Lingard, sophomore English education major. “We had to consider which would be the best to perform, what you could really elevate while performing it, as opposed to just reading it.”
The scripts were created from transcribed interviews with members of the L Company in WWI and they were conducted for the Flint Hills Oral History Project in 1976.
Tad Gilbert, senior theater and English major said that the process took time and collaboration with multiple groups across campus.
“We started off about a month ago, we got paired up with directors and we started running through it a few times,” Gilbert said. “Mine was a little different, because when I got it, it was 22 pages and we got it down to 14.”
Aside from rehearsing the script, to get into the mindset of a WWI veteran, Gilbert said he tried to remember how each of his grandparents talked about their time being soldiers.
One of the actors, Ryan Wollum, sophomore theater major, said they did a lot of research into WWI.
“To get into character, it was a lot of research on WWI, because World War II is very known to an American Audience, but WWI is not quite as talked about,” Wollum said. “It was a whole lot of research on trying to figure what the mindset of people going into the war, why, other than patriotism, are soldiers going and fighting.”
Lingard works as a student coordinator for the Educational Theater Company and helped organize the reading. She talked about how this event compared with others events she had worked on.
“We do a lot of different events, so earlier in the year we performed staged readings of the William Allen White award winners for that celebration that took place here,” Lingard said. “But as far as this particular event it’s completely new to us.”
The reader’s theater performance was a collaborative effort between Special Collections and Archives, the Department of Communication and Theater, the Department of Social Sciences, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the Lyon County History Center.