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Auditions for Erk Russell play set for May 3-4

The producers of the play that celebrates the enduring impact of legendary Georgia Southern University football coach Erk Russell are ready to cast the play with local men and women.

Auditions for ‘A Life Done Right: The Living Legacy of Erk Russell” will be held in two sessions in the Multi-Purpose Room of the Averitt Center for the Arts in downtown Statesboro.

The first session is scheduled for Saturday, May 3, from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m., and the second session is scheduled for Sunday, May 4, from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m.

According to director Rebecca Kennerly, as many as 25 actors are needed for the play, which will be unveiled with eight public performances in late August and early September.

‘All body types, ethnic groups and ages over 18 are welcome to audition,” said Kennerly, an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Arts at Georgia Southern. ‘We will be looking for people to portray a variety of characters, including football players and cheerleaders, college students, teachers and administrators, community businessmen and women, and waitress and cooks.”

Based largely on oral histories that are being collected from people who were acquaintances of the late coach, ‘A Life Done Right: The Living Legacy of Erk Russell” is a collaboration between the Averitt Center and the Department of Communication Arts.

Averitt Center executive director Tim Chapman developed the concept for the play and recruited Kennerly to facilitate the oral histories portion of the project, for which she received a Faculty Service Grant from Georgia Southern. Scott Garner, the former sports editor of the Statesboro Herald, is writing the script.

Much of script is based on interviews with Russell’s family members, friends, fans and former players. Many of those people will be portrayed in the play, a multi-media production that will include videotaped interviews and archived footage as well as actors on stage.

The list of people to be portrayed includes All-America quarterback Tracy Ham; former Georgia Southern president Dale Lick and vice president Perk Robbins, along with faculty members Jane Page and Del Presley; Snooky’s restaurant owner and Russell confidant Bruce Yawn; and former Eagle cheerleader Sandra Prince.

The auditions will be ‘cold,” which means the actors will have little time to prepare for their readings.

‘Each person will be given a section of the script and asked to choose two or three short parts for different characters they would like to read for,” Kennerly said. ‘We plan on bringing in groups of three to five people at a time. Each person will audition solo, and then they may be asked to work together as an ensemble.

‘We will take into consideration each person’s preference for parts, but we will ask for readings of other characters as well if we think they may be a better fit.”

Rehearsals for ‘A Life Done Right: The Living Legacy of Erk Russell” will begin in early July. The play will be performed in the Averitt Center’s Emma Kelly Theatre on Aug. 22-24 and Aug. 27-28. The production will move to the Black Box Theater in the new Center for Art and Theatre on the Georgia Southern campus for performances on Sept. 5-7.

For more information, contact Kennerly at rkennerly@georgiasouthern.edu or (912) 478-7325, or Chapman at exec@averittcenterforthearts.org or (912) 212-2787.

Georgia Southern University, a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University, offers more than 120 degree programs serving nearly 17,000 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement. The University, one of Georgia’s largest, is a top choice of Georgia’s HOPE scholars and is recognized for its student-centered approach to education. Visit: www.georgiasouthern.edu .

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