Plays and Activities of Ongoing Employment at Georgia Southwestern State University include:

Transcendence: A play about the presidency of Jimmy Carter which was written with the President and his wife Rosalynn.

-Developed presidential oral history program by noted historian Cliff Kuhn in conjunction with the Jimmy Carter Library. The collection looked at the Civil Rights issues of the 1950’s and 60’s and how they led to a South Georgia Renaissance, including the political ascent of Jimmy Carter.

And Grace Will Lead Me Home: The American POW Drama: Featuring former Prisoners of War on stage whose memories are interwoven with the story of the Andersonville Prison Stockade. This unique and epic production is the national dramatization of the universal experiences of military captivity.

-Allowed ex-prisoners of war to cut yet another link in the chains between themselves and their captors by bringing their process of healing to the stage. All POWs gradually had been talking about their trauma to increasingly larger groups of people in a subliminal effort to get over the experience. Their ability to stand on stage in front of an audience of six-hundred people represented a significant furthering of that process.

-Assembled artistic staff of noted professionals from the acclaimed directing program at Carnegie Mellon University as well the University of Georgia. Students and faculty had the opportunity to work with these designers and directors through the professional production of the show.

-Brought to Georgia Southwestern more than a half-a-million dollars in grants and in capital improvements necessary for the production of the play. This included procuring a new lighting and sound system for the university’s theater.

Darkness Lifting: Researched in five of the countries in which Habitat for Humanity builds homes for people in need, this play puts a face on poverty throughout the world. Commissioned by the organization for its 25th Anniversary Celebration.

-Local performance at the Rylander Theater for community and staff to see the work of Habitat for Humanity.

-Performance at the international celebration of Habitat for Humanity’s 25th Anniversary Celebration in Indianapolis, Indiana, where staff and supporters from Habitat could also see the organization’s work in a whole new way.

-Brought in noted Atlanta and Seattle-based artistic team to execute the play, including acclaimed director Eddie Levi Lee. Students and staff at the Georgia Southwestern had the opportunity to work with these noted professionals.

-Ghanaian Guest Artist and Habitat for Humanity worker in Africa, Victor Baidoo, spoke to English classes throughout the university about exorcisms in Africa, which he had performed on numerous occasions. Mr. Baidoo’s presence perfectly supplemented the university-wide reading of the book Of Spirits and Madness where a San Francisco-based psychiatrist went to work in a psychiatric hospital in Zimbabwe and provided a vivid portrait of a world where witchcraft sill reigned and psychosis was considered a contagious illness.

Stalinka: Created with the National Academy of Film and Theater in Sofia, Bulgaria, the play explores the personal and social ramifications resulting from the parting of the Iron Curtain. In particular, it uncovers the insidious forces that have kept Soviet satellite countries like Bulgaria from fully realizing their newfound freedoms. In addition, the following took place through the creation of the play:

-An oral history project through the National Academy of Film and Theater in Sofia, Bulgaria, that allowed its students to talk with their parents and elders about the history of the country during the Communist period, a topic that had otherwise become taboo.

-A study abroad opportunity that engaged noted Bulgarian artists and intellectuals.

-Lectures in Bulgaria on how theater could be used to make sense of broader disconnects in their history, as well as on the purpose and process of developing Human Rights Theater.

-Brought in Bulgarian Guest Artists Madelyn Tchlokova, noted Bulgarian actor and director, as well as Snejina Tankovska, Vice Chairman of the National Academy of Film and Theater.

-Playwriting class to Bulgarian students that focused on the creation of historic theater using the process of Chaos Theory.

Searching for Innocence: Phnom Penn 1996: Written around the story of Cambodian Poet Chath Pier Sath, who, as a young boy, had been taken from his parents and made to live in the idealized agrarian community imagined by Pol Pot. Years later, Mr. Pier Sath and his fellow countrymen again found themselves transformed by good intentions after the United Nations’ intervention in Cambodia. He appears in the play as himself.

-Playwrighting instruction through the process of creating theater. Students were involved in all phases of writing an original work from beginning research through on-stage revisions.

-Students learned first-hand about the history of Cambodia through the writing and production of the play and through discussions with Mr. Pier Sath.

-A series of community discussions were held in Lowell, Massachusetts, for the development of the play, discussions which brought together survivors of the Khmer Rouge. These workshops offered an opportunity for participants to face the traumatic events of their past and, in so doing, heal collectively.

-A university and community-wide seminar was held in conjunction with the play and with the cooperation of the Third World Studies Center at Georgia Southwestern, whereby both scholars and human rights practitioners addressed the questions raised by the play.

Following Our Fannie: A raucous romp through the vaudevillian history of the newly renovated Rylander Theater, this play included a mix of local and professional actors along with the modern-day equivalent of vaudevillians—circus performers.

-Circus performers who were featured in the play offered free workshops to the university and community members on everything from magic tricks to swallowing fire.