First Stewarts Creek play honors veterans

Post date: Jul 28, 2015 5:16:07 PM

By: DAN WHITTLE, Murfreesboro Post Columnist

Posted: Sunday, November 3, 2013 12:43 pm

Painfully patriotic. Gloriously done.

This week’s play, “Ordinary Heroes,” at Stewarts Creek High School is anything but ordinary. It is a production so extraordinary that area veterans and families may want to salute the student actors.

Show dates and times are this coming Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m., at the school auditorium that seats 660, including 20 slots for handicapped audience members. Tickets will be sale at the door both evenings, the show’s director confirmed.

It’s not only the first stage production at Rutherford County’s newest high school campus, but it’s been totally researched and created by students under direction of well-known Middle Tennessee director/ actor/ writer/ teacher Donald Fann and his assistant, School Resource Officer Casey McClure. Both are legends from past performances in productions at the acclaimed Arts Center of Cannon County in Woodbury.

“It’s been a joy to see the students broadening their creativeness and to see their respect grow deeper and deeper as they have researched what soldiers and their families have experienced, dating from World War I through to the modern era of wars,” noted director Fann.

Freshman actor Tristin Hicks, who answered media interviewer questions with courteous “yes sirs” and “no sirs,” has one of the most important roles.

“I’m playing the part of current U.S. Secretary of State Chuck Hagel, and his military service dating back to the Vietnam War,” noted Hicks, son of school librarian Liz and Tim Hicks. “At age 15, I’m honored to be asked to play this important man, but the biggest emotion for me is the gain in respect, as a result of our writing and research, for the prices our veterans and families have paid for us to be free Americans.”

Going straight to the Library of Congress resulted in actors/seniors Collin Ballard and Skylar Raney portraying World War II soldier Herbert Johns, who married sweet heart Clara after a wartime pen pal romance.

“On the stage, we have the actual Western Union telegram visible to the audience, advising that soldier Herbert Johns lost his life in battle,” Fann noted. “That’s one of the advantages of going directly to the Library of Congress that can furnish visual and videos for our students to grow and learn in their respective parts.”

The production pays tribute to military heroes dating from WW I to the latest war efforts on behalf of America.

Senior actors Skylar Raney (left) and Collin Ballard practice lines in the student-produced “Ordinary Heroes” play, the first stage production of the new Stewarts Creek High School in Rutherford County, Tenn. (TMP Photo/D. Whittle)