News: Livestreamed "Days of Possibilities" Commemorates the 50th Anniversary of Kent State Shootings May 4th

Days of Possibilities, a play by Rich Orloff, will be livestreamed as a nationwide on-line theater event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Kent State University shootings.

The live-streamed event will take place on Monday, May 4, 2020, with NYC-based streaming at 7pm. Viewers should check the website for details of other participating theaters.

Rich Orloff. 
May 4 marks the 50th anniversary of the shootings at Kent State University, one of the most tragic events in the history of anti-Vietnam War protests, when four unarmed students were killed by the National Guard. To commemorate this occasion, theaters around the country will live-stream locally produced Zoom performances of Rich Orloff’s Days of Possibilities, a documentary-style play based on true stories of Vietnam-era college students. The project was initiated by the author in collaboration with the NYC-based New Circle Theatre Company, which will present its online production, featuring over 20 performers and directed by David Kronick, on Monday, May 4, 2020, at 7:00 pm. Four other theaters will live-stream their own performances on the same evening. All showings are free and open to the public. For details and streaming links, visit the show's website, where they will be posted on May 1.

Days of Possibilities is based on first-person accounts by over 100 alumni of Oberlin College in Ohio, who witnessed and participated in these momentous events as they escalated from small, polite demonstrations in 1964 to the sweeping wave of outrage after the 1970 Kent State killing. Written by Orloff – whose award-winning plays have received praise for their mix of smart, intimate drama with a wry but compassionate sense of humor – the play weaves together monologues and “story theater” type scenes as it tells the true stories of a wide variety of students, including the radical, the cautious, the conservative, and the chronically undecided.

Oberlin ,Surrounded Car.  
After receiving letters from over 100 Oberlin alumni and conducting extensive interviews, Orloff created the mosaic-like play, which was first staged at Oberlin College in 1989. Under the title Vietnam 101: The War on Campus, the play has had over 50 productions and praised as “a thoughtful, impassioned look at one of the most divisive eras in American history” (The Daily Sentinel, Colorado) and “an entertaining primer in neglected subjects like civics and ethics” (Philadelphia City Paper).

Orloff explains, “I think the events of that era need to be remembered, not just for their historical importance but for lessons we can use today. Days of Possibilities offers stories of hope and courage during a time of great uncertainty. To fight for what they believed in, students risked being expelled, jailed, tear-gassed, and even shot. I think we can be inspired by the idealism of that time, especially if we don’t want to accept today’s social and political problems as inevitable and instead choose to find ways to fight for a better world. The technological tools we can use today were undreamed of fifty years ago, but I like to think that dreaming and working for a better future is timeless.”

New Circle Theatre Company, New York City
Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga, TN
Silverthorne Theatre Company, MA
Endangered Species Theatre Project, MD
Little Fish Theatre, CA

Also on May 4, Rincon High School in Tucson, AZ will present an abridged version of the play. The high school has produced the stage version twice in the last decade.


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