This week, In the Spotlight launched the online program titled “Springfield Dramatic Duos.” These are six mini-plays, each about a famous duo from Springfield’s past, that can be downloaded free of charge to be produced by anyone who is interested in history, inventions, and/or Springfield.
Funding from the Springfield Cultural Council has made it possible for In the Spotlight to commission local writers to pen scripts about 12 important men, focusing on their lives and inventions – six duos who made huge impacts in the City’s history, as well as in the United States, and the world.
Springfield, perhaps unbeknownst to most people, is the home of 50+ firsts. Most know about basketball, Dr. Seuss, and the Springfield Armory, but don’t realize that there are at least 47other firsts. The subjects were researched in depth, scripted as docu-dramas with a light touch, and reviewed by an historian.
Plays can be downloaded off of the Spotlight website; only two copies will be needed per play. In any given month, for instance, several plays could be performed throughout the City, indoors or outdoors, for many audiences. One venue may choose to mount all six plays over a period of time, or sites may work together to present the series of six. There are many options.
“What better way is there to educate Springfield’s youth and adults about our history than through the arts? What better way is there to feel proud of this City than by closely looking at and understanding the activities and people who made it great?” said Shera Cohen, President of In the Spotlight.
The plays, each approximately 20-minutes in length, can be easily presented in class rooms schools, libraries, community centers, museums, camps, and at historic sites. No set is needed, or memorization of scripts, and very little costuming is required. Small props, and perhaps make-up, may add to the fun and education for the actors and their audiences. The “actors” could be the students, teachers, campers, library youth patrons, playground supervisors, and even local celebrities.
The Dramatic Duos are the following:
- Smith & Wesson, founders of largest gun manufacturing company and producers of the Springfield Rifle, musket, and repeating pistol; written by Richard Volker of Ludlow
- Granville Brothers, inventors of the Bee airplane; written by Jacqueline Lynch, of Chicopee.
- Frederick Douglass & John Brown, Abolitionists who met in Springfield; written by Jacqueline Lynch
- Duryea Brothers, inventors of the first commercially sold automobile; written by Robert Smith of Westfield.
- Hendee & Hedstrom, developers of the first motorcycle, written by Konrad Rogowski of Chicopee.
- Merriam Brothers, creators of the Dictionary; written by David Chivers of Wilbraham.
Download the scripts at http://www.inthespotlightinc.org/p/springfields-dramatic-duos.html. Or inthespotlightinc.org, then to links for Dramatic Duos. Any questions should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. This program is supported in part by a grant from the Springfield Cultural Council, a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.