Though the 2011 flood that devastated Bloomsburg and its surrounding areas has left us, members of the community are still strengthening bonds formed from the traumatic experience. Flood Stories, Too., a new play co-produced by the Bloomsburg University Players and the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, is a community response to the devastation.
Written and directed by Gerald Stropnicky, Emeritus member of Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, Flood Stories, Too. is a collection of personal narratives and stories of local residents’ experiences with the flood, artfully crafted into a two-act play.
“You’ll see through different monologues that almost all of the actual events are taken from stories that people have given us,” said Phil Czekner, Bloomsburg University student and actor in the production.
Many stories were gathered by Mary Reinsburrow, another Bloomsburg University student and actress in the production. Characters featured in the multitude of stories range from unconcerned students to victims themselves to volunteers, even including Mayor Dan Knorr and Bloomsburg University’s President, Dr. David Soltz.
While Flood Stories, Too. is indeed based on dozens of people’s flood stories, they weave seamlessly together to create an all-encompassing sense of unity.
“Even though we all had our own experiences, as a community, we all had one shared experience as well,” said Reinsburrow.
Those involved in the production, such as Reinsburrow and Czekner, want to foster the healing process now that the devastation is subsiding. Considering the flood occurred during the fall 2011 academic semester, nearly every student was affected in one way or another. A crucial element in the healing process is the removal of barriers between the university and the town.
“There is a bond between the university and the town and even if it is edgy at times during events such as Block Party, there are good people on both ends and they should be connected,” according to Czekner.
Overall, the recollections that will be explored in Flood Stories, Too. are all connected with the underlying themes unity and recovery.
“Bloomsburg is a flood place. But we need to understand that things do get better and you do recover and move on,” said Czekner.
Flood Stories, Too. (a “pay what you wish” performance) opens Thurs., Mar. 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Alvina Krause Theater in downtown Bloomsburg and continues Mar. 8, 14, and 15 at 7:30 p.m., Mar. 9 and 16 at 2:00 p.m., and Mar. 10 and 17 at 3:00 p.m.
Tickets for Flood Stories, Too. are general admission and are not available for online purchase. If you would like to make advance reservations, please contact the Box Office, Tuesday - Saturday, 2PM - 6PM at (570) 784-8181, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or obtain them in person at the BTE Box Office, 226 Center Street in Downtown Bloomsburg.
Contributed by Kathryn M. Saulinas