Campus event to feature music, dialogue, voices of survivors from Civil War

The Distinguished Events Series at UNA will present “Civil War Voices: Songs and Memoirs of 5 Extraordinary People,” a musical play depicting stories of real Civil War survivors. The performance uses actual words left behind in diaries, letters and other pieces of writing from that time period. The production comes to UNA from the Barton Theatre National Touring Production, one of the nation’s oldest professional regional theatre companies.

“The style of which we do theatre is more unique, and it’s a different kind of spectacle than the big Broadway shows … ours is more about individual connection and reaching into the heart and soul of people and really having a conversation with them in the theatre,” said Richard Rose, producing artistic director of Barter Theatre.

The show will take place Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. in Norton Auditorium. Admission is free to students and the public. The production, arranged by composer Mark Hayes, features patriotic songs, hymns, and spirituals and follows the characters as they endure the conflict of the Civil War. James Harris, playwright of “Civil War Voices,” will host a discussion and question and answer session following the presentation and 15-minute intermission.

“Civil War Voices contains no fiction,” Harris said. “The stories are real … that’s something that people can understand, that we can relate to.”

The play depicts the true-life events of the war by five individuals who live to tell them, featuring music with traditional arrangements by Mark Hayes.

“Mark Hayes has taken all the greatest songs and music of the Civil War and has made music live again in a new form,” Harris said. “Mark is really truly one of the greatest living interpreters of traditional American music. He’s brilliant and his work on this piece is brilliant.”

“Civil War Voices” is the first in a series presented by The Distinguished Events Series at UNA for the 2011-2012 school year. The series continues Nov. 15 with “Hey Boo: Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird.” The Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble will perform Jan. 15, 2012 and the series will close with UNA’s Front Porch Storytelling Festival May 18 and 19.

Check out the trailer at