This project began as an independent study course, Stories of Knox County, led by Kenyon College Professor Clara Román-Odio, and was catalyzed by the passion and interest of four students enrolled in the course: Maria Brescia-Weiler, Sarah Aguilar, Gabriel Jimenez Ekman, and Mary Grace Detmer. Their interest in the stories of the people of Knox County was sparked during the seminar, Life along the Kokosing, taught by Kenyon Professor Howard Sacks.
Stories of Knox County is an oral history project aimed at capturing what is means to be part of this community. Students interviewed a cross section of resident both diverse and representative of the community; variety in age, belief systems, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, level of activity in the community, and geographic location within the county (i.e. urban / rural).
Although academic in origin, the project became a community play once the interest of these students converged with the pride and love of community so clearly expressed by Knox County interviewees. Maria Brescia-Weiler wrote the play, Hannah Klubeck made the poster (pictured above), and the wheels were set in motion to produce it through a partnership with MTVarts. Our hope is that sharing this public humanities with the community will increase dialogue and learning about each other.
Rooted: Stories of Knox County premiered at MVTarts Theater Company in Mount Vernon, Ohio in December 2017. Bruce Jacklin, MTVarts Artistic Director, directed the play. Set design was by Joseph Bell, and technical design and support was provided by Scott Swingle. The play was produced with assistance from MTVarts Business Manager, Janis Stone, and Kenyon College Professor Clara Román-Odio.