SOMERSET COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ PLUS) — The Mountain Playhouse is running a reenactment of the 1889 Johnstown Flood.
The play, 5/31/1889 The Flood, written by Rob Barren, takes audiences back to one of Johnstown’s most devastating moments and tells the story of more than just the day of the flood.
It also incorporates the day before and the two weeks after, a perspective that director, Guy Stroman, says many haven’t seen.
“What’s even more redemptive and endearing in act two is how they pulled themselves up, moved on and rebuilt and got their lives back and started moving forward with it.”
Jennerstown native, Tamera Gindlesperger Fisher, performs in the play and says this experience has been a unique history lesson for her.
“You’re going to get a lot more out of it from these stories that we’re telling which are based on true people based on true facts but these are characterized versions of that.”
Cast member, Larry Tobias, says we tend to forget the people when looking at massive disasters, but seeing and hearing these stories brings it to life.
“When you get to know them personally and as this play is so effective at personalizing these people’s lives. You know everyone is someone’s child. It’s important to look at people who may not be ourselves and see how much of us is reflected in others.”
For 18-year-old, Kieran Cullen, being a part of the production was surreal to him.
“I go through Johnstown every day on my way there and I see where the stone bridge was, which was mentioned many times in the play and also the Cambria Mills.”
Even if you’re not from Johnstown, Cullen says the play will change the way you see the city.
“If you’re coming to the Mountain Playhouse, you’re next door to Johnstown. It’s so cool to just see the play and then go to Johnstown and say oh this is where this actually happened.”
The production runs through September 29, and the crew invites you to go back in time to learn more about the history of the events before, during and after the flood of 1889.
“That kind of event can occur at any particular moment. That kind of random chaotic event that can happen. You know it can happen anywhere at any time,” says Stroman.
“Johnstown keeps rebuilding and I think you’ll leave with hope,” says Fisher.
More information on how to get tickets and showtimes can be found on their website by clicking here.