Thursday, August 21, 2008

‘A Life Done Right’ Explores the Legacy of Erk Russell

The spirit of Statesboro’s local legend, Erk Russell, will come to life on the stage of the Averitt Center’s Emma Kelly Theater Friday, Aug. 22 at 7:30 p.m. in “A Life Done Right: The Living Legacy of Erk Russell.” The play continues at the Averitt on Aug. 23, 24, 27 and 28, then moves to Georgia Southern University’s Black Box Theatre Sept. 5-7. Matinee and evening show times are listed below.

“A Life Done Right” is a collaborative production of the Erk Russell Oral History and Performance Project. Based on interviews with people who knew Erk, the play is directed by Rebecca Kennerly, assistant professor of communication studies at Georgia Southern University. Kennerly compiled and edited the interviews and adapted them for the stage, using a script outline and historical overview by Scott Garner. Twenty local actors, including community members and GSU faculty, staff, and students, will take part in the production.

The collaborative project began when Tim Chapman, executive director of the Averitt Center for the Arts, approached Kennerly about doing a show based on oral history interviewing. At first a bit overwhelmed by the enormity of the project, Kennerly says that with support from Chapman and the collaborative effort in the community, she’s been able to enjoy the experience.

“This was a different way to build a script,” said Kennerly. “We used a discussion-based oral history interviewing research method. I trained a volunteer team of interviewers, who went into the community to ask questions of people who knew Erk well.”

The two-hour show has an introduction and four scenes, but no Erk Russell character. He will “speak for himself” through the magic of video clips shown during the production.

Tickets for all shows are on sale at the Averitt Box Office at the Emma Kelly Theater, downtown Statesboro. Tickets for the performances at Georgia Southern will be available until noon on the day of the performance at the Averitt Box Office. Cost of the tickets will be $13 for a regular admission, $8 for Georgia Southern students with ID, and $8 for children under 12. Proceeds of the performances at Georgia Southern will go to the Patti Pace Memorial Fund to support the Black Box Theatre. The project is partially funded by at Georgia Southern University Faculty Service Grant and a grant from the Georgia Council on the Arts.

To purchase your tickets, visit the Averitt Box Office at the Emma Kelly Theater in downtown Statesboro. For more information, call 912-212-ARTS (2787).

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