BY OLIVIA DORFMAN
Local history takes the stage October 11–14 in Resilience: Stories of Monroe. The play, which highlights significant events in Monroe County’s 200-year history from an African-American perspective, was developed by Resilience Productions, the three-woman team responsible for bringing Resilience: Indiana’s Untold Story to audiences as part of the Indiana Bicentennial Celebration in 2016.
“Stories of African Americans weren’t being told on any level,” says Resilience’s Elizabeth Mitchell, a historian who uncovered many of the lost and forgotten historical incidents that form the core of the play.
The show’s creators—Gladys DeVane, Danielle Bruce, and Mitchell—say Stories of Monroe is a dramatic journey that focuses on our local history, including stories of the underground railroad, slave catchers, abolitionists and activists, and the turmoil of the 1960s and ’70s.
DeVane brings her expertise as a storyteller and writer to the collaborative venture, while Bruce guided the development of the script, worked on set design and staging, and serves as the play’s director. DeVane and Mitchell also act in the production.
Bruce says a simple phrase sums up their concept: “History reclaimed, stories retold, theater revealed.”
The play is in two acts, each featuring about five vignettes. Fifteen actors portray the 40-character cast. Choirs from several local churches are also featured. “There’s lots of music,” DeVane says.
The play will be performed at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington, 2120 N. Fee Lane, which is also the home of Resilience Productions. “Technically, the church is an advanced space for theater,” DeVane says. A 20-by-30-foot set will transform the church’s meeting room into a theater for the multimedia production, allowing different times and places to be conveyed with images from multiple projectors.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the Buskirk-Chumley Box Office at bctboxoffice.org or call 812-323-3020.