"Our Town", involves researching the local history of Bowdoin to "hold up a mirror" for this community. Piti Theatre is particularly focused on rural New England during the second half of the 19th century, ie, the beginnings of industrialization. Partnering with Friends of Merrymeeting Bay, the program will be presented as prerecorded "digital theater" streamed for the public.
Piti artists research our regions local and natural history and adapt their dramatic framework based on 19th century rural New England history for our community. This production filmed on location in Bowdoin with a cast of up to 80 students from Bowdoin Central School, draws inspiration from natural resource-based Bay-related vocations in timber harvesting, fishing, ice harvesting, shipbuilding, agriculture, textile mills and log drives between 1850 – 1900 in and around the Bay.
By focusing on natural resource based vocations, audiences gain a more profound sense of the historical struggle between economic forces and conservation efforts. Industrialization often gave rise to serious ecosystem damage as entrepreneurs sought to make themselves and their communities prosperous – for example by building dams, overfishing, dumping chemicals, etc. Young people have a better chance of balancing these interests if they understand the Bay's intertwined natural and human history.
"The kids loved dressing up and pretending to be someone from long ago. It was a great opportunity to showcase our local history. We all have stories to tell. We had lots of fun being the stars of our own show! This opportunity gave students the chance to be involved in the scripting, the props, the costumes, and the performing. They got to see all of the elements that a production encompasses” said Angela Wheeler, a 4th grade teacher at Bowdoin Central School.
Piti Theatre Jonathan Mirin's (Artistic Director, Playwright, Performer, Teacher) plays have been performed in New York, regionally and internationally. His performance in Riding the Wave.com was nominated in 2004 and 2008 by Independent Reviewers of New England for Best Solo Performance, Small Company. In 2014, he received an award from Club Passim's Iguana Fund for the songs he's written with Piti Theatre's musician-in-residence Carrie Ferguson. He has also received the Children's Theater Foundation of America's Aurand Harris Fellowship and is a two-time finalist for the Actor's Theatre of Louisville Heidemann Award. Jon has taught dramatic writing for Boston University, New England Youth Theatre, Boston Arts Academy, and Creative Arts at Park. He has led residencies and created new work with children and teens in schools throughout New England.
Mirin and Piti have worked several times in the past with FOMB and Mirin emphasized that, "Collaboration with a local environmental group like Friends of Merrymeeting Bay is an ideal situation for a performance like this one." This performance is funded in part by the New England States Touring Foundation, a program of the New England Foundation for the Arts.
Following the public screening and post-show moderated panel discussion, the songs and film will become community resources for our local libraries, historical societies, schools and colleges.