Fayette, Ohio (January 23, 2014) – What do Teddy Roosevelt and Mark Twain have to say that matters to us today? Turns out, they have quite a lot to say. Not all of what they say is relevant in today’s world. But how they say it is relevant. At least that is the theory that drives the play As Different as a Frog and a Grizzly. Written by Dr. Jan Younger, professor emeritus from Heidelberg University, the play takes its title from the two animals that were associated with both historical figures.
Mark Twain, was a riverboat pilot, newspaperman and famed American author who is represented in the title by the Frog, taken from one of his best known short stories Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. Teddy Roosevelt, on the other hand was an outdoorsman, Roughrider and President of the United States. He was so well internationally known for his hunting exploits that tales of his exploits took on epic proportions. One of those stories originated from a hunting trip down south that nearly ended up with his bagging of a little bear cub. This tale so caught the imagination of the nation that a children’s toy, the “Teddy Bear” was named after him.
On April 4, the Opera House will host a panel discussion titled “Building Character”. Doug Collar, Associate Dean of the Honors Program at Heidelberg University brings his vintage gramophone to the Fayette Opera House to play original cylinder recordings of Teddy Roosevelt making his “Strenuous Life” speech. Collar is an aficionado and collector of historic recordings and studied at the Vincent Voice Library at Michigan State University where he was also a popular radio host with Friday Night Jazz for over 20 years. As Dr. Collar shares Teddy Roosevelt’s voice, cartoonist Polly Keener creator of the nationally syndicated Hamster Alley will share 30 political-style cartoons which she drew to illustrate Younger’s play As Different as a Frog and a Grizzly. These cartoons are on display in the University Gallery in the Opera House and will remain on exhibit through May 5th. She will talk about the techniques and history of political cartoons. One picture really is worth 1000 words. A cartoon can communicate mood and point of view and make us smile even when we don’t agree. They will be joined by Presidential Scholar and author of “As Different as a Frog and a Grizzly” Dr. Jan Younger. As a scholar on the life of Samuel L. Clemens, Younger will outline how he crafted this original script to illustrate how these two American giants differed in their views of this country.
Following the panel discussion, Teddy Roosevelt and Mark Twain will take to the stage at the Fayette Opera House on May 1,2, & 4, 2014, in the play, As Different as a Frog and a Grizzly.
In recognition of Law Day on May 1, the day- time performance is offered for school students studying government, history, speech and debate as well as for home-school students.
May 2 & 4 performances are open to the public. All three performances will be followed by talk back sessions led by humanities professionals and featuring the playwright Dr. Jan Younger.
The Fayette Community Fine Arts Council, which operates the Fayette Opera House received a matching grant from the Ohio Humanities Council to make these programs possible. The Humanities Council Grant supports programs that bring the humanities: history, literature, the arts, political science; to the community.