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A Dramatic New Start

The+cast+of+%22And+They+Dance+Real+Slow+in+Jackson%22+pose+for+a+photo+before+their+final+performance.
The cast of

The cast of "And They Dance Real Slow in Jackson" pose for a photo before their final performance.

The cast of "And They Dance Real Slow in Jackson" pose for a photo before their final performance.

Audrey Moore, Reporter

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There are many things happening in Ottawa High School’s drama department. These things include a new partnership with Ottawa University and the fact that the spring play was a drama instead of a comedy for the first time in several years.

“The partnership came about with me looking for ways to save money because we don’t have a large budget and to costume students in somewhat period clothing,” Rebecca Greasby [drama teacher] said. “I started looking into connections we could make here in the community.”

According to Greasby, the partnership with OU allowed the theater department access to the university’s costumes and props. This is much more cost effective than borrowing from community theaters and such, as most of them charge for it. A large part of it is also just having a connection with the university and having a network of people to connect with regarding the arts within the small community.

“We got a hold of them and they offered us far more than we had anticipated with the access to their costumes and their props,” Greasby said. “The first email I received back was that they were really excited about creating a new partnership, so there’s excitement on both sides that we’re working together on this.”

The spring play this year was And They Dance Real Slow in Jackson by Jim Leonard Jr. It’s about a girl in a rural town in Indiana who is confined to her wheelchair in the 1950s. It’s a drama instead of a comedy, being the first drama play performed by Ottawa High School in several years.

“I had expected to hear, ‘We want to do a comedy,’” Greasby said. “But I was really surprised when the majority of people wanted to do a drama because you haven’t done a drama here in a long time.”

Tiernyn Sirico [11] is playing Elizabeth, the lead role.

“Being able to play the lead character gives me the first ‘push through the door’ that I need to start a successful acting career,” Sirico said. “In any character you play, you have to find just one thing you share with the character. For me, it’s the fact that Elizabeth wants to take on the world, and she’s got the determination to not let anything get in her way. You don’t have to be perfect to be strong.”

Sirico was also one of the students who expressed the desire to have this year’s spring play be a drama.

“I feel like performing a drama connects more to the audience,” Sirico said. “It’s all about making an impact on someone.”

Greasby had many reasons for picking And They Dance Real Slow in Jackson in particular, but one of them was the fact that she hoped the message the play sends would reach the student body.
“The reason I picked And They Dance Real Slow in Jackson is because there’s more than one issue going on,” Greasby said. “And also, the things that Elizabeth goes through in the play, I can see a lot of that happening with some of our students. Y’know, with how they treat each other. And not necessarily because of disabilities, but how they treat each other and disrespect each other. I’m hoping that by focusing and putting the spotlight on that issue that we can look at ourselves, turn the mirror back to ourselves, and say, ‘Ooh, maybe I should check myself a little bit, too.’”

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A Dramatic New Start