Enjoy the Show
The Kentucky Library & Museum is currently displaying materials that document the history of Bowling Green theater in an exhibit titled “Enjoy the Show,” which ends February 14, 2011. Nineteenth century items are rare, but the exhibit does include an March 1833 hand scribed broadside advertising the Bowling Green Thespian Society’s production of the melodrama, “Luke the Labourer; or, The Lost Son.” Tickets to this amateur production cost twenty-five cents. Other items from the 1800s include illustrations of Bowling Green’s opera house, programs, an elaborate paper puppet stage, as well as photographs of costumed actors.
Theater in Bowling Green blossomed in 1932 with the incorporation of the Bowling Green Players Guild. Items on display from this early amateur group include playbills, programs, the organization’s constitution and a membership card, as well as sketches for set designs and costumes. Items from later theater groups, such as the Alley Theater, Public Theater of Kentucky, Fountain Square Players and Bowling Green Community Players are included.
The exhibit emphasizes dramatic productions at Western Kentucky University. One case features memorabilia from the Western Players and another focuses on longtime WKU theater professor, playwright, and director, Russell H. Miller (1905-1968). Two costumes from the WKU Department of Theater and Dance highlight the exhibit. The more elaborate ensemble is a shepherdess costume from “Bastein and Bastienne,” a Mozart opera performed last spring. The other is a simple, but symbolic, green dress used in “The House of Bernarda Alba” in 2009. The Kentucky Library & Museum thanks Shura Pollatsek, Department of Theater and Dance, for assisting with the costumes.
On September 9, 2010, the Executive Director of the Filson Historical Society in Louisville was the opening speaker in WKU Libraries’ eighth annual Kentucky Live Series. The series took place in Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Bowling Green, KY. The topic of his talk was “Steamboating on the Western Waters: Bicentennial Reflections.” At the end of the talk he signed his book.
He says he was most influenced by the southern sense of place, southern history and southern literature. His love of history came from reading and hearing older people talk about people and the past. His research has focused on people and their lives in the area he grew up in (Piney Woods, Georgia) from about 1850-1910. In his first book The New South Comes to Wiregrass Georgia, 1860-1910 published by the University of Tennessee Press in 1994, he explored the transformation of an area characterized by pine forests, northern tourists and health seekers to one of cotton production and tenancy. It won the American Historical Association’s Herbert Feis Award. His most recent book plain folk’s fight: The Civil War & Reconstruction in Piney Woods Georgia was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2005 and won an Award of Excellence from the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office. In it he examines the effects of the Civil War on the rural Southern home front in the wiregrass region of southern Georgia.
A native of Tifton, Georgia Mark grew up in Milan, Georgia where he attended public schools and thought about being an archaeologist or maybe a lawyer. After a stint in the US Navy he enrolled at Georgia Southern College from where he received his BA and MA in history before transferring to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville for his PhD.
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