RIO GRANDE — The premiere performance of “That was Bob” was held in Rio Grande on the main stage of the Berry Fine and Performing Arts Building July 13 and 14. The show is part of an Outdoor Drama Series created via the collaborative efforts of The Bob Evans Farm, The Madog Center for Welsh Studies, and the University of Rio Grande Theater Program. The cast and crew are currently gearing up for the second round of performances to be held during the upcoming Farm Festival October 12–14, 2012.
The show is about Bob Evans; about the man and his life as told through the stories of others. The show features an arrangement of collected short stories, an original musical score, documentary films and photos and volunteer efforts.
While Greg Miller can be credited with directing the project, he is happy to share the spotlight with others who helped bring the project to life. Lisa Jones and Jeanne Jindra both helped gather stories from people in the area. Jones also developed chunks of dialogue throughout the script. Jones, Nathan Wood and members of the Red Brush Band were also very involved in the writing and arranging of the music.
This show follows the formula used for previous projects such as, “Out of the Red Brush” by Kermit Daugherty, “Jesse Stuart Stories” by Jesse Stuart, “Lonesome Valley” by Brooks Jones and “Our Welsh Neighbors” by Evan E. Davis.
When asked what he likes about Readers Theater compared to the other genres or formats he has experienced to date, Miller quickly responded.
“Readers Theater is more comfortable in several respects, we can add more music to the program, we can involve more actors in the material, we can engage the audience more directly with more immediate responses, because the stories are economically constructed and briskly delivered, so the pace is rapid and variable in emotional content,” explained Miller. “It is more personal and interpersonal among performers and audiences.”
Miller added that he is excited about the potential of the project and said this type of celebration of local and regional stories through Readers Theater illustrates the full-circle theme highlighted in the performance.
“There is value in what we are doing. Local stories and regional stories are a good way to define ourselves and our culture by celebrating the human qualities of the characters that have lived among us in this microcosm of human history,” added Miller. “It helps us to clarify our values and define our purpose for being here in the hills of Ohio.”