'One Hundred Horses' now on at UMKC Studio Theatre

The stamp that was made after the silk scroll is part of the artwork that inspires the play “One Hundred Horses” by Steve Karol.

LIBERTY — “One Hundred Horses,” will find its second weekend this week at University of Missouri — Kansas City Studio Theatre, 116, James C. Olson Performing Arts Center, 4949 Cherry St.

Proceeds from this production will benefit education programs at Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary in Liberty. Playwright Steve Karol has had several plays produced around the city. He has been a volunteer and board member with the sanctuary for more than 10 years.

The synopsis of the play surrounds a Kansas Citian in China during World War II.

“There are Kansas City characters that are part of the play,” he said. “First, there’s Edgar Snow, a journalist who was born in Kansas City. He was actually the reason that Nixon could visit China.”

The play also includes Howard Porter, a volunteer who ended up flying supplies and soldiers around China, Karol explained. Dewayne Knott, who has served as the post commander of Smithville American Legion Post No. 58, is playing Porter, a relative of Kearney’s Mack Porter.

“We’ve been fortunate to receive a Kearney VFW grant and aid from the foundation at UMKC,” Karol said. “We had practice space at the Smithville Legion. It has been kismet with all these entities coming together. They came together and the connections are great.”

Silk scrolls, part of the inspiration for the play, have been part of Chinese history for centuries. Many of the scrolls have been made into stamps. Karol is a philatelist and found the scroll stamps fascinating, deciding to look into the history.

“This is a true story gift wrapped in a lovely fiction about a young American art historian and the friends he made during an amazing journey,” he said of the play. “Many of the Chinese Forbidden City’s ancient treasures were evacuated from the Palace Museum in Beijing when Japan launched a full-scale invasion of China. This is the harrowing journey that preserved one important artistic legacy.”

Southeast Editor Kellie Houx can be reached at kellie.houx@mycouriertribune.com or 389-6630.

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