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Div III: Monologues on Mountaintop Removal in Appalachia

By Aaron Richmond-Havel 09F

“I didn’t want to do a project that was all about me and my acting,” said Adelind Horan 09S, a transfer student who completed a Division III (senior) acting project. “I thought, ‘if I’m going to spend a year on this, I would like it to be something meaningful.’”

Focusing on the environmental and human rights issue of mountaintop removal in Appalachia, Horan constructed a series of monologues for a one-woman show.

“There’s no creating a character,” she said. “I interviewed people and created monologues on exactly what they said, verbatim.” The end result is a “documentary play,” as she calls it—one paired with a bluegrass band playing traditional Appalachian tunes—staged in April 2010.

Horan found it “a little uncomfortable” to separate her personal views from her representations of those on the opposing side. “But I think it’s really important to have other people speak,” she added, “so you at least hear what the other argument is.” As she spoke with some executives working in the involved corporations, she realized that “they never get to present their opinions fairly, so they were really excited to share their views.”

“If I were anywhere else, I wouldn’t be doing this project,” said Horan. “And, now, I cannot think of any better way of kicking things off.” Her experience of being at Hampshire, albeit for three semesters, was very beneficial. “It is a little daunting and scary to be in charge of your time management and work ethic,” Horan said. She is also thankful: “Hampshire forces you to gain a sense of maturity and knowing how you work best.”

Division III faculty committee: theatre professors Djola Branner (chair) and Talya Kingston

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