By Claire Nusbaum
On Monday, January 21st, over 1000 theater-goers attended the Martin Luther King, Jr., Day Celebration to watch two OSU students’ months of preparation unfold on the stage. Meg Stentz and Sierra Swanson (above) members of the OSU professional writing minor, co-wrote the script for the celebration, along with Dan Willis, the event’s performance director.
Although the program’s theme was “Guided by Faith,” in an interview with OSU’s Writers Talk, Dan Willis said, “We’re not talking about just the religious faith that the whole movement had, but also the humanistic faith that people had—their faith in humanity, their faith in community, and their faith in themselves.” Willis revealed that the program featured content from Dr. King’s famous The Birmingham Letters, as well as his last speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountain Top.”
It was “a great experience to write collaboratively,” said Stentz. But the process had its challenges as well. As Stentz said, “we took forever finding a concept, and so on week six, when Dan said, ‘Alright, let’s choose this guy,’ I was like, ‘Hallelujah,’ and went into the hallway and cried.”
For the three scenes in the play, Stentz and Swanson wrote the first and third scenes individually, but wrote the second scene in conjunction. “Working with people who necessarily don’t share your ideas,” was one of the most challenging aspects of the internship, according to Swanson.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration took place on Monday, January 21st, 2013, 6-7 pm at Veteran’s Memorial in Columbus. OSU students and faculty were invited to enjoy the free event, which included music from the Jazz Arts Academy, dances performed by the BalletMet, and songs sung by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Mass Children’s Choir. A free bus transported students to and from the event. The full Writers Talk interview is available on iTunes and on YouTube.