Mud and Water: Flood Stories from Potato Hill

Project Description

In March, thirty 5th- and 6th-grade students at Lincoln Community School staged a theatrical performance about the impact of floods on Lincoln and other parts of Vermont over the past two hundred years. Stories depicted in the play were gathered from several sources: Lincoln and Bristol residents, flood-related media produced by the Vermont Folklife Center, and the students themselves. The 75-minute performance included music, dance, song, poetry, vignettes and stories.

The script was compiled by teacher Alice Leeds with guidance from local thespians Diana Bigelow and Jim Stapleton and from Denver playwright Ben Delon Lee. Current and former Lincoln students writing about the flood of 1998 and Hurricane Irene was included, as were stories of such local notables as Linda Norton, Harriet Brown, Pete Dominico, Mary and Dave Harrison and Bill McKibben. The many video recordings and books about Hurricane Irene provided further content as well as background knowledge for the 5/6 team. At one point, a scene in which students become parts of the water cycle offered comic relief.

A number of art forms came together for this project. Choreographer Joseph Schine collaborated with students on the opening dance piece. Musical Duo Swing Peepers collaborated with students on an original song for the play’s finale. Under the guidance of 5th- and 6th-grade teacher Donna Wood, each student created a framed collage from hand-textured papers to depict a flood-related quote. Art teacher Nancy McClaran worked with students on the set. Musicians Lausanne Allen and Rick Ceballos provided musical interludes and accompaniment for the students’ songs and dance.