Theater for Everyone
Community is Focus of Flood Stories Encore
It is so important to the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble that every one be able to attend Flood Stories, Too that all performances of the show running March 7 through March 17 will be offered on a “Pay What You Can” basis.
Director Gerard Stropnicky, ensemble emeritus, created the show along with members of the Bloomsburg University Players (BUP) from hours of interviews conducted with local residents, including mayor of Bloomsburg Dan Knorr, about their flood experience following Tropical Storm Lee in 2011. Featuring a cast of 70 performers from the community as well as BUP and the Bloomsburg Bicentennial Choir, the production features original songs by Van Wagner and Paul Loomis and has been described as “an epic production of heartbreak and survival.”
“Flood Stories, Too will be a time for our communities to come together in recognition of nature’s awesome power, and to celebrate the generosity of friends and strangers,” Stropnicky shared via press release. “The record-breaking flood of September 2011 brought devastation and great trauma to this region, whole neighborhoods destroyed, fully one fourth of our homes damaged or destroyed or simply gone, but this flood also welded a changed understanding of community. We see one another differently through the lens of catastrophe, we see one another’s generosity, openness, humor, strength and vulnerability.”
BTE previously created and staged Susquehanna: Mighty, Muddy, Crooked of The Long Reach in 2006. In August 2009, the company presented its first Flood Stories (developed in 2006-2008) in Bloomsburg’s Town Park which sits along the river and is generally submerged whenever the river overflows its banks.
The writer/director is known nationally for his community-developed theater initiatives. Locally this includes Letters to the Editor as well as the first Flood Stories; nationally he’s worked with communities in Kentucky and Georgia.
“If you’ve never experienced community-centered performance, you’re in for a treat,” Stropnicky said. “This is theatre of, by and for the people of this place: 70 diverse citizens onstage, ranging in age from six to none-of-your-business, all bringing their best. Included in the cast are several who lost their homes in the Lee Flood, and many who helped in the clean-up.”
Because admission is by donation advance tickets are not available, however reservations will be accepted at 741-8181 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Patrons will be asked to make what they think is an appropriate contribution. Some in the community are still struggling from financial hardships suffered as a direct result from the flood, the company acknowledged. Shows will be offered Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. with matinee performances Saturdays at 2 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m.
For more information about the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, visit www.bte.org.