Rich Orloff's DAYS OF POSSIBILITIES Commemorates The 50th Anniversary Of Kent State Shootings
May 4 marks the 50th anniversary of the shootings at Kent State University, one of the most tragic events in the history of anti-Vietnam War protests, when four unarmed students were killed by the National Guard. To commemorate this occasion, theaters around the country will live-stream locally produced Zoom performances of Rich Orloff's DAYS OF POSSIBILITIES, a documentary-style play based on true stories of Vietnam-era college students.
The project was initiated by the author in collaborationwith the NYC-based New Circle Theatre Company, who will present their online production featuring over 20 performers and directed by David Kronick, on Monday, May 4, 2020, at 7:00 pm. Four other theaters will live-stream their own performances on the same evening. All showings are free and open to the public. For details and streaming links, visit www.richorloff.com/days-of-possibilities where they will be posted on May 1.
DAYS OF POSSIBILITIES is based on first-person accounts by over 100 alumni of Oberlin College in Ohio, who witnessed and participated in these momentous events as they escalated from small, polite demonstrations in 1964 to the sweeping wave of outrage after the 1970 Kent State killing. Written by playwright Rich Orloff - whose award-winning plays have received praise for their mix of smart, intimate drama with a wry but compassionate sense of humor - the play weaves together monologues and "story theater" type scenes as it tells the true stories of a wide variety of students, including the radical, the cautious, the conservative, and the chronically undecided.After receiving letters from over 100 Oberlin alumni and conducting extensive interviews, Orloff created the mosaic-like play, which was first staged at Oberlin College in 1989. Under the title VIETNAM 101: THE WAR ON CAMPUS, the play has had over 50 productions and praised as "a thoughtful, impassioned look at one of the most divisive eras in American history" (The Daily Sentinel, Colorado) and "an entertaining primer in neglected subjects like civics and ethics" (Philadelphia City Paper).
Orloff explains, "I think the events of that era need to be remembered, not just for their historical importance but for lessons we can use today. DAYS OF POSSIBILITIES offers stories of hope and courage during a time of great uncertainty. To fight for what they believed in, students risked being expelled, jailed, tear-gassed, and even shot. I think we can be inspired by the idealism of that time, especially if we don't want to accept today's social and political problems as inevitable and instead choose to find ways to fight for a better world. The technological tools we can use today were undreamed of fifty years ago, but I like to think that dreaming and working for a better future is timeless."
Also on May 4, Rincon High School in Tucson, AZ will present an abridged version of the play. The high school has produced the stage version twice in the last decade.
Playwright Rich Orloff is the author of 18 full-length plays, which have had over 300 productions around the world. They range widely in style, from the documentary-style play CHATTING WITH THE TEA PARTY, which had 18 productions and readings in 2015 and 2016, to such comedies as ROMANTIC FOOLS, which has had over 100 productions on four continents, including two in Madrid, where apparently they're no better at romance than we are. The New York Times called his play BIG BOYS "rip-roaringly funny" and named his comedy FUNNY AS A CRUTCH a Critic's Pick. Over the last two years, Rich has performed his one-person show IT'S A BEAUTIFUL WOUND (the true story of his journey in underground, psychedelic-assisted therapy) at theaters and psychedelic conferences around the country. Rich's full-length plays have won, among other awards, the Festival of Emerging American Theatre Prize, the Playwrights First Award, the Goody Fellowship, and the Pickering Award for Playwriting Excellence, and they've had been produced at such theaters as Dayton Playhouse, Detroit Rep, Florida Studio Theatre, New Jersey Rep, Phoenix Theatre Company, West Coast Ensemble, and Vienna's English Theatre. Rich's short plays have received over 2000 productions on six continents - and a staged reading in Antarctica. www.richorloff.com
Director David Kronick, who will helm the New York City presentation, is Executive Director of New Circle Theatre Company. His work has been seen at La Mama,BAM, Circle Repertory Lab, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and the International Theatre Festival in Venice, Italy. Recent directorial credits with New Circle include IT'S A BEAUTIFUL WOUND by Rich Orloff, MADCAP by Robin Burland, MAN AND WIFE by Emma Goldman Sherman, THE GREAT DEVOURER by Lori Goodman, INFINIT-E by Bill Leavengood, and CAMPBELL SOUP KIDS by Cyndi Coyne.
Formed in 2017 by former members of New York's famed Circle Repertory Company (the home of playwright Lanford Wilson and others) and its lab company, New Circle Theatre Company is a company of writers, actors, directors and designers working together to nurture the journey of a play through all stages of development, from original concept to production. New Circle's objective is to stimulate, educate, and inspire our audience and our community by creating theatrical productions of the highest caliber that can elevate the human spirit and address the challenges of the 21st Century. www.newcircletheatrecompany.org