The celebration of Jackson Township's bicentennial continues this weekend with an original play.

The celebration of Jackson Township's bicentennial continues this weekend with an original play.

The Century Box, written by Jeremy Sony and directed by Lisa Napier-Garcia, will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 29-31 in the Ed Palmer Auditorium at Central Crossing High School, 500 Big Run South Road.

The play is presented through a partnership of Jackson Township, the Grove City Historical Commission and the Little Theatre Off Broadway.

Jim Hale, chairman of the historical commission, said Grove City celebrated its centennial in 1952 with a play.

"We felt a play would be something appropriate to call attention to our history," he said.

Jackson Township, founded in 1815, is celebrating its 200th year with a variety of events and promotions.

The play covers the 200-year history of the community and includes as characters a number of prominent figures from the history of Grove City and Jackson Township, including Hugh Grant, William Foster Breck and other early pioneers.

Finding a way to convey all that history in a two-hour play was a challenge, Sony said, but he got his inspiration from the auction held at the historic home of the late Ruth Sawyer Jividen and the stories that came with all the artifacts.

The story of The Century Box begins in 2015 when two children find in a basement a time capsule, also known as a century box. As they go through the box and pull out different items, the play dramatizes the people and the history of those items.The scenes in the present, Sony said, are the "anchor" for the story.

"I like to call it a history wrapped in a mystery wrapped in a love story," Sony said. "The best part of history involves the people who loved in those times and not just the events. ... We focused on trying to a find a blend of historical facts and those stories and anecdotes passed down through the years"

The play jumps from time period to time period, but Napier-Garcia, a member of the historical commission, said different lighting techniques, costumes and props will help distinguish between them.

"We're going to utilize different parts of the stage to help the audience differentiate the different time periods," Napier-Garcia said. "It's a lot of work to pull it together."

Despite the complexities, Napier-Garcia said cast and crew are having fun.

"It's always fun when you get to dress up in period costumes," she said. "It's a little more challenging than playing a fictitious person because you want to be as true to them as possible."

Sony grew up in Columbus with family in Grove City. His mother worked at Beulah Park. Driving to get-togethers growing up, he said he never gave much thought to the area's history, but researching and writing the play has brought that history to life for him.

"I want people to come out of the play more engaged in the history of their town," Sony said. "My goal is to make this engaging and fun."

Admission for all performances is free, but donations supporting Little Theatre Off Broadway will be accepted.

These performances won't be the end of The Century Box. The structure of the play allows portions of it to be broken down and performed as smaller school plays. Attendees of the show will also receive a playbill that opens up into a historic map of Grove City and Jackson Township in 1858.

Township Administrator Mike Lilly, who is also on the historical commission, said the 5,000 playbills being printed are designed to look like a historical document and to serve as a keepsake.

"This playbill and map can be a teaching tool for generations," Lilly said.