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Mershon Center for International Security Studies

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Department of Theatre Live Art Performance
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The Silent Soldiers Memorial
Commemorating the Great War
Thursday, April 06, 2017, 11:00am - 02:00pm
Thompson Library, 1858 Neil Ave. Mall
Wexner Center for the Arts, 1871 N. High St.
The Oval, The Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio 43210

Forbidden Zones

This creative project is a "live art" event to be performed on April 6, 2017, marking the 100th anniversary of the United States entry into World War I. It is inspired by a live art "installation" on July 1, 2016. in the United Kingdom that acknowledged the centenary of the beginning of the Battle of the Somme in a visceral, human way. The UK version took place throughout the country with 1,400 volunteers in full WWI uniform. The predominant sites were railway stations and/or town centers.

The Ohio State event will be smaller but just as powerful. More than 20 uniformed men and women (as nurses and ambulance drivers) will march into position, stand or sit silently, and hold that position, before moving on to the next site. As they move to the next location they will sing "We’re here because we’re here," which was sung by British soldiers sang as they went over the top into the Battle of the Somme, the deadliest battle of the war and one of the deadliest battles in history.

Each student will have "business cards" in their pockets with name, rank, military unit, date of death, age. They will silently hand the cards to members of the public. Thus, the students performing inhabit the roles of an actual man or woman who took part in the war and in many of the cases, died as a result.

Unlike the UK event composed of all men, our event will acknowledge the many women who took part in the war. One of our students conducted research in the university archives so that men from Ohio State who died in the war are represented. Each student will be involved in research to learn about the person they play in this memorial event.

Schedule (to be confirmed):

10:30 a.m. - Depart Drake Performance and Event Center and march towards Thompson Library
11-11:30 a.m. - Thompson Library "live art" performance
11:30 a.m. - Depart Thompson Library and cross the Oval toward the Wexner Center for the Arts
12-12:30 p.m. - Wexner Center for the Arts "live art" performance
12:30 p.m. - Depart Wexner Center and move toward University Hall
12:50 p.m. - University Hall stop
1 p.m. - Break for lunch at University Hall
1:45-2 p.m. - Move out to the Oval for procession
2-2:30 p.m. - Oval "live art" performance
2:30 p.m. - Return to Thompson Library for brief stop
3 p.m. - Return to Drake

Created by the Department of Theatre, conceived by Lesley Ferris
Partners include the Department of History, Mershon Center for International Security Studies, Thompson Library, and Wexner Center for the Arts

This event is linked to the Department of Theatre production of "Forbidden Zones: The Great War"
A devised new work, conceived and directed by Lesley Ferris, co-directed by Jeanine Thompson, with MFA actors and designers.
The Department of Theatre marks the centenary of the U.S. 1917 entry into World War I by creating a new work employing verbatim theatre. The source material is drawn from archives, contemporary documents, letters, memoirs, commissioned art, and popular music with a focus on Britain and France and their famous Somme Offensive, the largest battle on the Western Front. Performance dates are March 29--April 9, 2017.


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