"Thank you for the wonderful show last night! These stories have to be told -- we, the "ordinary" people, should be the ones in charge of unearthing history and reconstructing it in a way that incorporates personal narratives. The key to healing and transformation is to make history come alive through exploring it by placing ourselves in it. I felt that happening in your performance.
There were many moments that made me laugh and made me emotional. The last scene with the two classmates reconnecting was so tender and sweet. It was such a gentle and loving way to send us all back out into the world to do this vein of healing work ourselves. That, to me, was the most genius aspect of the performance." ~ Tereza T. Bottman, teacher and community artist
"Congratulations. You, your show, the other actors, the music, were all stellar tonight! What a powerful story. You demonstrated how the most innocent memory can reconstitute into a powerful present timely experience for all. I am inspired again to go to mine." ~ Anna Schaum, Drama Therapist
"Thanks so much for a brave, witty, intelligent, moving and elegant telling of The Hillsboro Story. I was amazed at how well you wove together so many life threads and colorful details, and how well you told the big story of injustice and prejudice through the little stories. From Mickey Mouse to Rosa Parks, you had it all. I loved the final scene with yourself and your school friend just sitting together and talking about Charlotte's Web, your teacher and the power of friendship. What a story -- especially the engineer (and son) with a social conscience. Your other actors were sooooooo good. Thanks sister!" ~ Will Hornyak, storyteller
"This was truly powerful and I've talked about it, glowingly, since then. As you know I have a special feeling for the play having grown up about two hours north of this area and came of age twenty years later than the date and setting of the play. I know the vestiges of what this story tells were still alive and well when I grew up, but we were a generation determined to fight together for justice and peace. We had some victories and defeats. I salute you and your wonderful cast members for doing a stellar job. It was a memorable story. It was a compelling story. The spirit of action and a need to make great things happen are instilled in us. If we don't, who will? If not now -- when?" ~ Pastor H. J. W. Matt Hennessee, M.Div.
Senior Servant; Vancouver Ave. First Baptist Church
"It was so moving, tears came to my eyes throughout the production. Susan Banyas showed how the major players in Hillsboro played out what was happening across the country. I believe the resistance to that racism brought us to the election of Barack Obama." ~ Willa Schneberg, poet
"Susan, what a MOVING way to present this piece of our national psyche and history!" ~ Kay Reid, poet
"In her play The Hillsboro Story, Banyas takes on the huge sweep of school de-segregation in 1950s America -- which in so many versions becomes analytical and dispassionate -- but in The Hillsboro Story, through her use of the personal narrative, allows the audience to feel the magnitude of the changes taking place, as an entire race of Americans -- those of African American descent -- begins to take their proper place as citizens entitled to the rights of all Americans. It also offers, through her investigation into the social history of Banyas' small Ohio town, inspiring examples of true heroism, activism, and bravery, which are thrilling in their modeling of true citizenship, that of people working together to better allow a community to come closer to the ideal of true justice and freedom for all, and to well manifest the famous saying by Margaret Mead:
'Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.'"~ Carl Davis, the Farm Reporter
"The performance was absorbing, funny, serious, well-choreographed and acted, and touching. I loved it!" ~ Nona Glazer, artist and political scientist
""I enjoyed how you weave the story and the view of the story from so many perspectives, but the crafting of it did not leave me feeling bounced around rather like I had been bathed in a sumptuous feast. Thanks for reminding of us all how precious our civil rights are and how close we all are to having unexamined attitudes as truth." ~ Nancy Lynch, therapist and healer