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Posted on Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 6:02 a.m.

EMU Theatre offers world premiere reading of 'Shaking Earth'

By Staff

Eastern Michigan University Theatre invites you to participate in the development of a new play for family audiences. Opening the winter season is "Shaking Earth," the world premiere reading of a new work by EMU Faculty member Patricia Zimmer. Performances run Jan. 25-27 and will take place in the Sponberg Theatre in the Quirk Dramatic Arts Building, located at the intersection of East Circle Drive and Best Hall on EMU’s Ypsilanti campus.

"Shaking Earth" begins in October 1938, in the Bootheel of Missouri, one of the most seismically active areas in the United States. The local saying whenever there is a tremor is, “Be an earthquake in 15 minutes or 50 years.” The time, however, was fraught with troubles bigger than seismic tremors.

"Shaking Earth" takes place in the context of events building up to the Sharecropper’s Protest of 1939, when black and white sharecroppers in the Bootheel of Missouri came together to stage a non-violent protest against the unethical actions of landowners. In small-town America, farmers were relying on sharecroppers to keep their farms afloat. Unfortunately, this practice went hand-in-hand with racism and unfair working conditions. In the midst of the turmoil, Mally, a white girl, and Amelia, an African-American girl, have become secret best friends; secret, because they know that none of their sharecropper parents would approve of their friendship.

The play explores the impact of these troubling times on the children, their friendship and their families. Directed by Meriah Sage, "Shaking Earth" will be performed as a staged reading in the Sponberg Theatre on January 25 and 26 at 7 p.m. and January 27 at 2 p.m. A discussion will follow the reading, with an opportunity for audience members to respond to this work-in-progress. This production is recommended for audiences ages 10+.

Ticket prices for "Shaking Earth" are $7; no further discounts apply. Tickets are available by phone at 734-487-2282 and in person at the Convocation Center, the Student Center ticket office or the Quirk Box Office. To purchase tickets online visit For more information about EMU Theatre, our season, and directions to our theatres, visit or fan us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.