A collaboration between West Ouachita High School and Bastrop High School for a joint production of "Our Town" by Thornton Wilder started this summer and should bring a performance of the play to Bastrop in early 2015.
Karen Pittman, an educator at West Ouachita and former Morehouse teacher, and Mitzi Quinn, a current educator at Bastrop High, are serving as co-directors for the effort and are alternating meetings between the two locations. Pittman received a $4,000 grant from Delta Kappa Gamma, a professional teacher's organization both she and Quinn belong to, to produce the play.
In a provided statement, Pittman relayed her hopes for the production.
"The name of my grant is 'Developing Empathy, Character and Cultural Literacy through Drama," Pittman said. "It will involve local students from Bastrop High, Beekman Charter School and West Ouachita High School. I hope to involve our communities in a joint effort to learn more about our different yet similar communities. By working together on this project, both empathy for one another as well as character building through accomplishment will be achieved."
This production marks the first time a grant has been received that actually allows for working in the school directly with students.
According to the co-directors, students from each community will create scenes focused on their community and present those alongside scenes from "Our Town." When the play is presented in Bastrop, the Morehouse students will present the community portion while the WO students perform "Our Town" and see to technical details. When it is performed in WO, the reverse will occur.
According to Mitzi Quinn, the students are already a team.
"I was very excited when Karen [Pittman] called with the opportunity," Quinn said. "The kids get along very well."
Quinn also said that the production gives students the chance to get to know one another outside of a competition setting and learn how to work together.
Pittman echoed this sentiment using a quote from Emily in "Our Town."
"Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it — every, every minute," the play states.
According to Pittman, these students are trying to realize this moment of their life.
Stay tuned to the Bastrop Daily Enterprise for future updates about the production and a performance date as soon as it is formally announced.