The Story of Great Great Grandma Reitzal

Back when I was starting as a freshman, I was involved with the kyōgen production, Power and Folly, by helping out with the elaborate costumes as well as transporting those costumes since the theatre was closed for renovations. Now in my senior year, I have come full circle being in this year’s kyōgen production, except this time I decided to act in it.

Last semester, I had taken an introduction to kyōgen theatre class and one of the projects that I created was the start of my journey for this semester. Great Great Grandma Reitzel. Her story was passed down to me by my Grandma Sue when I was younger and although the details might blur a little bit, the essence of how the tale ensued was still retained. My dad had said logically, it would’ve been Great Great Grandma Martin, but I remember it being told to me as Reitzel so I went with that. In a way, it’s kind of like how stories change according to how they’re remembered even if that may not be exactly how they were told in the first place. Either way, I loved the stories of this feisty old woman, shooting a gun better than the boys half her age; I wanted to bring her stories back to life.

Professor Julie Iezzi was able to help me refine the story-telling of this family tale and with her direction, we were able to marry two different acting styles of kyōgen and rakugo to create the vibrant story of my Great Great Grandma Reitzel. Although her part may not be as prominent throughout the entirety of the story, the thought of a very old woman being so full of gumption with such little fear when she had her shotgun in her hand brings out a different view of the older generations not being as frail as most believe.

– Selena Doran, Great Great Grandma Reitzal

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