Regional campus play debuts at Tuscarawas

Tessa Carroll

Six years is a long time to spend working on anything – especially a play. But that’s how long Patti Swartz, East Liverpool campus associate English professor, spent compiling information for and writing “Our Work, Our Worlds: Women’s Stories.”

Our Work, Our Worlds: Women’s Stories

Performed by: the Oral History players

Where? Kent State Tuscarawas

When? Tonight at 7 p.m.

How much? Free and open to

the public

It is being performed by the Oral History players at Tuscarawas campus at 7 p.m. tonight in Founders Hall Auditorium. The play is a part of the Artist/Lecture series.

The play, which is focused on more than 100 oral histories from women in the Upper Ohio Valley, was written as part of the East Liverpool Historical Society Oral History project. The stories used in the play were collected by Swartz, students and community members and adapted for the stage.

“This play is something that the community wanted and needed,” she said. “Oral history plays inspire people to help the community.”

“Our Work, Our Worlds: Women’s Stories” is the third in a series of plays Swartz has written. A shortened version of the three-act play that runs for approximately one hour was performed at the Trumbull campus and will be performed at the Tuscarawas campus.

The play centers around the stories of women of various ages and life experiences in the Upper Ohio Valley. The play is a series of connected monologues, and the stories are told solely by women about their lives and experiences.

“There are funny parts and sad parts,” Swartz said. “It’s about news reporters and housewives. It’s about childhood memories, work, and families. It’s a celebration of women’s lives.”

Many of the histories used in the play are heart-wrenching tales.

“There is a story about a woman who finds out that her baby has Down’s Syndrome because of a drug she was taking,” she said. “The drug was a steroid, and she had been taking it for a sinus infection.”

There are also heart-warming stories of childhood memories. Tales of favorite teachers, class trips and amusement parks are also included in “Our Work, Our Worlds: Women’s Stories.”

Doug Smith, a musician from Poland, is performing the music for the play. He also co-wrote one of the songs that is used in the play.

“We used a variety of music,” Smith said. “It’s mostly acoustic cover songs by a range of musicians. There are songs by bands like Peter, Paul and Mary as well as a few blues numbers.”

However, this play is not a musical. “Our Work, Our Worlds: Women’s Stories” uses music to change the scene or set the mood.

Swartz, who holds a bachelor of arts degree in theater, wrote this play with the help of a grant from the Ohio Arts Council, a public agency that supports the arts. Other support for “Our Work, Our Worlds: Women’s Stories” was provided by the Office of the Dean, East Liverpool campus, private contributions and corporate donations.

“My hope is that people will come to this play looking for the strength in women’s lives,” Swartz said. “I hope that they will come and celebrate that strength with us.”

The Tuscarawas presentation of “Our Work, Our Worlds: Women’s Stories” is free and open to the public. It is suggested tickets be reserved in advance. For more information or to reserve tickets, contact Pam Patacca at (330) 339-3391.

Contact regional campuses reporter Tessa Carroll at [email protected].