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Kent State University at Tuscarawas will present their spring production, May 4th Voices at 7:30 p.m. on May 4 at the Performing Arts Center. The play features an ensemble cast comprised of students, staff and community members.
May 4th Voices is a play written by David Hassler, director of the Kent State Wick Poetry Center. On May 4, 1970, National Guardsmen occupying the Kent State University campus fired 67 shots in 13 seconds, leaving four students dead. This tragedy had a profound impact on the university and the nation and is credited as being a catalyst in changing Americans views on the U.S. involvement in Vietnam. May 4th Voices is based on the Kent State Shootings Oral History Project. Comprised of more than 110 interviews with Kent State faculty, students, administrators, National Guardsmen, police, hospital personnel and others affected by this day, May 4th Voices, weaves these stories together into a powerful narrative of that day and its aftermath.
“One of the chief hallmarks of trauma is silencing, not just personally but also collectively,” said Hassler. “Yet engaging any community in the healing process of creating art and providing venues for the public to witness it has the power to heal. I am grateful that Kent State Tuscarawas is restaging this play for the 45th commemoration of the Kent State shootings and giving voice to that traumatic experience.”
In conjunction with this production, a video chronicling six local oral histories relating to May 4, 1970 was produced by Julie Levengood Stephon, a senior English major at Kent State Tuscarawas who serves as dramaturge and production assistant for the play.
"We are so grateful that our local citizens, who were witnesses to the events surrounding May 4th and the subsequent aftermath, were willing to share their stories and experiences,” said Levengood Stephon. “By providing their oral accounts, future generations will have not only Kent State history, but firsthand knowledge of an experience that changed our nation."
The video will be show on the monitors in the Performing Arts Center before and after the production.
May 4th Voices is directed by Assistant Professor of Theatre Studies Bill Auld. The production crew includes stage manager Tamara Benson, costume designer Alex Allesandri-Bruce, dramaturge and production assistant Julie Levengood Stephon, lighting designer Cyndi Hoffman, props and scenery designer Jane Deitrick and audio consultant and assistant sound design Logan Harper.
Tickets are $10 or $5 with a student ID and can be purchased at the Performing Arts Center box office, online at www.tusc.kent.edu/pac or by calling 330-308-6400. The box office is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free parking is available for all shows.