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  • BEFORE: IMMERSING ONESELF IN HISTORY PHOTO RESPONSE WI HISTORICAL SOCIETY

    POWERPOINT

    DURING: IMMERSING ONESELF IN THE PRODUCTION IDENTIFYING DESIGN ELEMENTS:

    TABLEAU, SET, LIGHT, SOUND AND COSTUMES

    AFTER: PROCESSING DISCUSSION TABLEAU NEWSPAPER

    HEADLINES Freedom High A RESOURCE GUIDE FOR INSTRUCTORS In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer, the

    Wisconsin Historical Society has digitalized a wealth of records that

    document the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer Project. These files

    include an annotated PowerPoint and an Educators Sourcebook; they are

    available at www.wisconsinhistory.org/freedomsummer and can be used

    for non-profit educational purposes. Please consider using these high

    quality resources and the related primary source documents with your

    students.

    Using this Guide The purpose of this guide is to provide instructors with a framework for engaging adult

    students in conversation about diversity as it applies to the production Freedom High written

    by Adam Kraar and directed by Marti Gobel. It is designed to help students make

    connections to moments in history by asking them to respond to primary source visual

    representations (historical photographs), identify dramatic representations of these historical

    moments in Freedom High, and process them by discussing and recreating these moments in

    time through discussion, tableau and writing activities.

    Photo credit: Dr. Mark McPhail

    Photo credit: Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)

    Freedom High The script for Freedom High was written by Adam Kraar. This production is

    directed by UW-Whitewater Theatre/Dance alumna and Uprooted Theatre

    artistic director, Marti Gobel.

    This play is a work of fiction, inspired by actual events during Freedom

    Summer in 1964. The leading characters do not represent actual persons.

    Time 1964

    Place Western College in Oxford, Ohio

    Historical Notes

    The major events of the week of June 21, 1964 depicted in the playincluding

    the disappearance of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Mickey Schwerner

    represent historical fact. The public speeches of Bob Moses in the play are

    essentially drawn from his actual speeches.

    The play takes liberties with the historical record in several small ways. For

    dramatic purposes, Ive expanded the length of time in which there was

    uncertainty about whether the Project would proceed. My aim is to honor the

    actual persons involved while also creating a theatrical piece that conjures up

    the dramatic spirit of this story.

    - Adam Kraar, playwright

  • 2

    Freedom Summer In an effort to integrate Mississippis segregated political system, nonviolent

    civil rights activists organized African American voter registration, Freedom

    Rides (integrated travel on interstate commercial buses) and sit-ins.

    Volunteers, many of them young college students, were recruited for training

    in nonviolent resistance at Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio,

    June 15-28, 1964.

    Mississippis black residents, a majority in many counties, were

    systematically excluded from politics by arbitrary literacy tests and taxes as

    well as other forms of legal discrimination. Those who wanted to exercise

    their right to vote were harassed and beaten; they faced the potential loss of

    their jobs, and they were threatened and intimidated by the Ku Klux Klan.

    Few black residents of Mississippi took the chance of attempting to register

    to vote.

    Freedom Summer organizers, including The Student Nonviolent Coordinat-

    ing Committee (SNCC), felt that helping African Americans register to vote

    and participate in politics in Mississippi would help break down the racial

    barriers in the South.

    The major goal of Freedom Summer was to empower Mississippis black

    residents to participate in local, state and national politics. The project also

    aimed to focus the nations attention on conditions in Mississippi to force the

    issue of the federal government passing laws to protect all U.S. citizens.

    James Chaney, 21, Andrew Goodman, 20, and Michael Schwerner, 24, trained at Western College for Women before heading south to register black voters as part of The Mississippi Freedom Summer Project. They left Oxford, OH June 20, 1964, and disappeared the next day. Their bodies were found buried in an earthen dam on a farm near Philadelphia, Mississippi six weeks later.

    Photo credit: Black Star

  • 3

    Production Concept for FREEDOM HIGH

    By Adam Kraar

    More about the main

    character...

    Jessica, a 21 year-old white

    woman, has arrived on the

    campus of Western College in

    Ohio to be trained as a volunteer

    for the Freedom Summer

    Project. In six days, she will

    leave the sheltered campus for

    Mississippi to help register

    African-American voters. The

    play is a representation of

    Jessicas memories and

    impressions.

    Photo credit: Herbert Randall

    FREEDOM HIGH is a Memory Piece or a play written

    from one or several individuals viewpoints of past events.

    The scenes offered are intended to show memories and make

    strong impressions on the audience. For this reason the

    movement and blocking of this particular production is

    extremely important. The actors will use simple props and

    Tableaus to move the story forward. Some actors will play

    more than one roledoubling. This quality is especially

    important for the Volunteer Chorus who is a constant and

    powerful presence in the play. They will aid in setting the

    stage when there is a need to show religious gatherings, riots,

    mobs, political rallies, etc. Think of them as a Greek Chorus.

    This play is narrated by one character, Jessica. Her addresses

    to the audience provide a constant connection with the

    viewing audience. In addition, Jessicas monologues are the

    only realistic scene work in this production. Her emotions

    are immediate when she speaks in the moment to the

    audience. All other scenes are to be done in more stylistic

    manner employing the use of The Tableau and exaggerated

    movement. The contrast between the two approaches to

    theatrical presentations allows the actors to tell the story in a

    clear, vocal and physical way while constantly engaging the

    audience.

    FREEDOM HIGH is a historically accurate fictional play.

    That is, the roots of the play are founded in actual events but

    the characters involved are not. The playwright uses fact and

    imagination to write how they may have felt and responded

    during these real situations.

    Design Elements Many Design Elements go in to the creation of a full production. The choices made artistically for each element aid in telling the story

    that the director wishes to share and that the playwright intended. The effective use of Tableaus, Set, Light, Sound and Costumes for any

    given production can be key in storytelling or Theatrical Productions. At most times all of the Design Elements will be employed

    simultaneously. They are, however, easy to isolate and analyze when you understand their purpose and how they are being used.

    Tableaus: Tableau means moving picture. It is a group of actors carefully posed. The actors are simply costumed and theatrically lit.

    There is no speech and once the actors reach the appropriate, pre-choreographed position they do not move until the scene shifts or

    changes. It is a quick way to tie what is happening on stage to an event, painting or photograph. For this particular production, Tableaus

    mirroring actual photographs from the day will be used. It is also a way to indicate violence and danger without the use of stage combat

    and props.

    Set: The set is the platform or stage that the actors are working on. The set indicates geographic location(s), period in history, public

    and private structures, homes, offices, schools, etc. The set can be elaborate and complex or simple and sparse in its design. This

    production is designed to move at a quick pace from site to site within the story. For this reason the set is primarily bare. Tree trunks

    and benches are the only set pieces. It is the actors responsibility to bring the audience imagination to life with sharp physicality and

    innovative use of the simple set pieces.

    Light: Lighting is a design element used to indicate to the audience location, time of day, shift in mood and to support what the

    audience is already feeling. At its most basic function lighting helps all involved to see, or not see, the play. The design for this show

    was chosen as a mixture of spots and highlights used when Jessica is addressing the audience, and, dimmer lighting used for group

    scenes and properly balanced so that shadows can offer additional movement on stage and distinct shapes can be seen as the actors move

    into Tableaus.

    Photo credit: Student Nonviolent Coordinating

    Committee (SNCC)

  • 4

    Design Elements Sound: The Sound Design includes every sound

    that the actors a