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Actors bring American history to life

By Katelyn Harrop Assistant Arts and Entertainment Editor

In anticipation for tomorrow's presidential debate, professional scholar-actors and student actors brought an array of historical presentations to an audience ranging from elementary school students to campus faculty on Adams and Calkins Quads. The event known as Expressions of Democracy including this acting component called Democracy in Performance, which covered topics such as abolition, women’s rights, labor regulations, and immigration  in the form of period monologues by well-known historical figures such as Theodore Roosevelt and W.E.B. DuBois as well as characters created to interpret the lives of civilians during monumental moments in American history.

Actress Kate Carney took on the life of European immigrant, Mary Antin in a piece entitled ‘The Promised Land: Immigration to America.’ Carney has been doing historical performances since 1993. “This character is very moving," Carney said. "Very often it moves me deeply and moves the audience deeply too."

Although this event was open to the community and drew a large crowd from primary and secondary schools, Hofstra students were also around to enjoy performances independently or with a class. Alex Barkley, a junior psychology major, found the performances to be informative and a good historical reminder. “This event brings about a state of remembrance over what America has gone through in the past,” said Barkley who attended a labor rights piece called ‘Workers: Tragedy and Triumph, The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and the Bread and Roses Strike.’

Democracy in Performance was presented on campus Oct. 8, 2008, the day before the final Obama-McCain presidential debate. Dr. Cynthia Bogard, a sociology professor, produced both events. This year’s event was much larger than it’s 2008 predecessor featuring five new events including an art contest for high and middle school students and an original play entitled ‘The Bonus Army’ written by alumni Isaac Rathbone.

Bogard was pleased with the impressive turnout from the community and surrounding schools. “The kids seem to be enjoying themselves and are having some good interactions with the historical characters. They’re learning something and do it in an interesting way,” said Bogard.



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