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Senior center presents 'We Were So Young'

Contributed • Nov 12, 2018 at 11:14 AM

On Nov. 15-17, the Jonesborough Senior Center will present “We Were So Young,” a brand-new play based on the stories of its members.

This new play celebrates the remarkable Baby-Boom generation and their indomitable, individual spirits. From Peace Corps Volunteers to Vietnam Veterans, miners in the coal fields at home and travelers on a distant journey, the brave spirit of these unique life stories shines through.

The play, written by Jules Corriere and directed by Lucas Schmidt, is set mostly during the 1960s, a formative time in the lives of the characters who were part of a great change taking place in the country and around the world.

It was a time of conflict and confusion, but these Baby Boomers from the Jonesborough Senior Center got through those times by listening to the lessons learned from their parents, “The Greatest Generation,” who told them to stand up for what they believed in, even if it meant sometimes they’d be standing alone.

The play is filled with scenes depicting turning-point moments in the lives of local residents, many of whom were very young when they met with these experiences. Feel their heartbreaks, celebrate their triumphs and see how they have the courage to find the light even through the darkest of times, and in the end, cheer as they find the power to stand on their own.

All of the scenes in this play are drawn from oral histories collected from members of the Jonesborough Senior Center as part of the Jonesborough Story Initiative. The stories were then transcribed by Pam Kruger.

Corriere read through the nearly 1,000 pages of transcripts and developed the one-hour play, the theme of which centers around the strong, independent spirit of the Baby Boomer generation. Auditions were held at the Senior Center, and Lucas Schmidt went to work directing the cast members in performing this play about their own fellow Senior Center members as a way of honoring their lives.

A further way to honor the lives of the participating members will be through an art exhibit, featuring photographs of the contributing members both in their youth and in present day. This exhibit will be up the week of the production at the Senior Center, and is curated by center Director Mary Sanger and McKinney Center Director Theresa Hammons.

In addition, since not all of the stories collected could be used in the one-hour play, a companion booklet was also developed. It features the stories in “We Were So Young,” as well as stories from all of the participating interview subjects.

The first performance of “Young” will be for Senior Center members only on Thursday, Nov. 15. The show will have two public performances on Nov. 16 and 17 at 7 p.m. at the center. Tickets are $10 and are available by calling the Visitors Center at 423-753-1010 or by going online to Jonesborough.com/tickets. For more information, call Mary Sanger at 423-753-4781.

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