Professor's play commemorates Tuscaloosa tornadoes

Jun 7, 2012 | General News, Liberal Arts

Louisiana Tech associate professor of theater Paul Crook, a Tuscaloosa, Ala., native, used his memories of the April 2011 tornadoes that devastated his hometown to create a story.
Crook’s play, “Home,” which focuses on watching the destruction from afar, was performed at Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa recently to raise money for local tornado relief agencies.
“Earlier this year, the playwriting professor at the University of Alabama sent out a notice to numerous colleagues that a director/teacher from Tuscaloosa — and a good friend of mine, Michael Carr — was soliciting short scripts to put together an evening of plays to commemorate the first anniversary of the April 27 tornadoes,” Crook said.
“I wrote one that was actually an adaptation of a Facebook post I wrote a few days after the storm and sent it to them. I was fortunate that my script was selected to be the prologue piece to the evening of theater. And I was extremely humbled and thankful to have a very small part in raising some more donations, which the performances did, for ongoing tornado relief efforts.”
Crook said none of his family or friends suffered physical injuries, but the tornadoes’ impact on his hometown affected him.
“Its after-effects had a profound impact on me,” he said. “We weren’t able to go over and help with clean up, but my family and I did help spearhead a local relief effort, collecting donations for the ‘Roll Bama Roll/Well That’s Cool Sunshine Express,’ which was a relief effort by Alabama alumni that went from Pasadena to Tuscaloosa picking up donations in an 18-wheeler.”
“Home” served as the prologue to nine other plays that were performed to tell the story of the tornadoes, collectively called, “Inside the Tornado.”