Actors Take on Martin Luther Kings Story
"This Play is for Everyone
Who Believes in Freedom for All
for all of us... We are the dream."
Review by Jane Belden for the
Trinity Journal (CA)
Performance by Trinity Players
Summer Youth Theatre Workshop, 7/16/14
Directed by Bridget Rogers and
After only four weeks of
education, Trinity Players Summer Youth Theater Workshop pulled off
an excellent production at Trinity Alps Performing Arts Center in Weaverville.
We are the Dream opened with the
actors singing and walking down the stairs to the stage where
paintings of posters of civil rights were hung at the back and risers
where the cast were placed casually, yet quietly, unseen until
actively participating in the scene.
I had the opportunity to read
the script a few months ago and it emotionally moved me, but made me
wonder how non-blacks would pull it off. Well, I have to tell you
that it didnt matter what the ethnic background of the actors
were, they did pull it off royally.
Bridget Rogers says in her
directors notes, "We have come a long way since
segregation, though we still have progress to make. We mustnt
let it make us bitter, or have hate in our hearts. We must always
love others. The dream continues to live in the hearts and souls of
every person, young or old, male or female, who believes in freedom
-- Jane Belden for the Trinity
Presents The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
The Widener Childrens
Theatre Workshop (CTW) performed The
Legend of Sleepy Hollow,
the famed ghost story originally penned by Washington Irving, on
November 3, 4, and 6. Unlike Washington Irvings or Tim
Burtons version of the story, this was specifically written for
a younger audience.
Widener Childrens Theatre Workshop
The story still follows the same
basic plot: a middle-aged school teacher named Ichabod Crane (Brian
Harrington) comes to the town of Sleepy Hollow to take a job as the
new school teacher. Ichabod falls for the young Katrina Van Tassel
(Kara Gilbert), a woman whom Brom Bones (Jon Owens) has already
spoken for. Brom wastes no time in telling Ichabod of the Headless
Horseman (Dan Cronin), the ghost who haunts the bridge in the town.
This version deviates the most from the others in the plays
climax when Ichabod meets his demise at the hands of the Headless
Horseman. Unlike other adaptations, CTWs production contains
more comic relief and less scares.
The play, however, was meant
specifically for children and in that regard was a success. The
children in the audience were very receptive, both during and after
the show. "I would ask rhetorical questions and they would
answer, Harrington said of his performance. "Theyre
a lot more receptive. Cronin offered a similar sentiment.
"With adult theater, people are more subdued. What makes it
special for [children] is knowing it played for them. During
the show, many of the children offered more audible cues than simply
laughter or screaming. If there was a plot point, for example, that a
child didnt understand, he would express that aloud.
As a 20-year-old writer,
its difficult to put myself in the mindset of a child and enjoy
it in that manner. However, I agree with the performers that the
children in attendance found it extremely enjoyable. As a college
student, I didnt find the conclusion frightening, but if I were
in grade school, I probably would have. During the shows
confrontation between Ichabod and the Horseman, the audience reacted
the most, both with laughter and screams.
Unlike traditional theater, this
production took full advantage of the building in which it was being
performed. Most theater creates a separation between the audience and
the performers; The Legend of Sleepy Hollow instead tried to build a
gap between the two. During the climax, Ichabod is chased by the
Horseman not just on the stage, but through the isles and the seats,
which allowed the audience to react even more strongly. To further
solidify the union between the performers and the audience, after the
performance the cast took questions from the audience.
To be sure, the response I got
from the cast was that it was equally as fun for them as it was for
the children. "I got a real kick out of making six hundred kids
scream, said a smiling Cronin. Lisa Eckley Cocchiarale, the
director of the play, described it as being an intelligent play made
specifically for kids. If the reactions of the children were any
indication, the play was a success.
Survivor Honored by A Thousand Cranes Cast Members
From Salisbury Post (NC) - March
said, "the play means more. Art is not just about applause. It
has a history. Theres a lot of good things in it.
JON C. LAKEY / SALISBURY POST
Bayleigh Grace Miller , who plays one of the parts of main character
Sadako in the production of
"It was kind of like a
connection between me and her. Im Sadako, and shes
Piedmont Players Theatres "A
is the story of a young girl growing up in the shadow of Hiroshima.
But to the young cast members, its become much more than
that. Theyve had the opportunity to meet Yoshiko Otey,
who survived the bombing of Hiroshima.
And in between shows for the
countys fourth-graders this week at the Norvell Theatre, they
were folding 1,000 cranes for her.
When Otey was diagnosed with
lymphoma a few years ago, their daughter sent her a box of tiny
cranes. It meant more to Otey than any words her daughter
The cast decided to do the same
to wish her well.
In the play, the girl, Sadako,
becomes ill 10 years after the bombing of Hiroshima. She wanted
to fold 1,000 cranes, based on the legend that doing so would restore
her to health. She only made 644 before her death, but her classmates
finished for her, making an additional 356 cranes. Today, a
statue in her honor can be found in Hiroshima a cry for peace
JON C. LAKEY / SALISBURY POST:
Fleming Otey helps Vivien Rudisell with her costume.
Rudisell plays the part of the
grandmother in the Norvell Children's Theater production
At 9 a.m., theyd performed
for a house full of students, all sitting in hushed excitement, eager
to see the 30-minute, one-act play.
Their admission ticket? A folded crane.
There were already hundreds of
colorful cranes decorating the lobby. Director Reid Leonard
said the lobby would be full of cranes by the end of the week.
Theoretically, he said, the cast could give three people 1,000 cranes
each in addition to the 1,000 they were making for Otey.
"Were in the healing business now, Leonard said.
"Its one of the things this cast never expected.
You never know exactly where a
show will go, Leonard noted. "You just launch it and
hope. Each cast member dropped a completed crane into his
or her own small, plastic laundry basket. The Oteys stood nearby,
looking on with gentle smiles.
Pastor Otey has seen the play
more than once. "Its just as strong each time,
Seeing the play for Yoshiko Otey
has been emotional but healing, she said. "Its been such a
long time. Its like waking up from a dream.
Following treatment, Otey is doing well.
Review for A Thousand Cranes
Theatre Review: Childsplay,
Tempe Center for the Arts
By David Appleford, Phoenix AZ
Sadako was just three years old
when the United States dropped the atomic bomb in 1945. Her
home was little more than a mile from where it fell. Years
later, while training for a foot race with her friend Kenji Sadako
feels a pain which causes her to stumble. Doctors diagnose
leukemia, a direct result of the fall of the atomic bomb.
Sadako is still too young to understand why shes become
affected by something that happened several years ago but her mother
tells her "Radiation doesnt always show up straight away.
(small cast version)
When Kenji visits the ailing
Sadako by her bedside he offers her a folded crane as a gift and
explains why. Japanese legend has it that if a sick person
makes a thousand paper cranes then the gods will grant her wish of
health again. Inspired by Kenjis story, Sadako attempts
to reach that number.
Told in just under forty-five
minutes with no intermission, director Dwayne Hartfords
production presents its story with grace, poise and theatrical
precision. Holly Windingstands wonderful looking scenic
design is based on Noh, a form of historical Japanese theatre which
originates back as early as the fourteenth century. Here we
have a raised floor backed by the traditional painted design of a
pine tree all under a raised roof. Stage right stands a sound
station where actors produce sound effects and play drums throughout,
highlighting moments of action and movement and underlining the drama.
(small cast version)
Its amazing that in such a
short amount of time, some important themes, issues and traditions
are explored in a manner that cant help but inspire young minds
to want to learn more. In addition to the more obvious themes
of war, the atomic bomb and radiation, there are also examples of
respect for traditions, discipline at home, love of family and pin of
eventual loss, not to mention that many, A Thousand Cranes may even
be a childs initial introduction to the fun of origami.
Like everything throughout the
play, the moment when the bomb drops is handled with taste, style
and, in keeping with the traditions of Noh Japanese theatre, even
elegance. Theres a flash of light followed by a boom of
sound. "The thunderbolt Sadakos father
begins. "It took our friends, it took our home. It
took your grandmother.
Today a statue of Sadako stands
in Japans Hiroshima Peace Park. Once a year theres
a holiday called Obon Day. This is where the country remembers
the spirits of ancestors and close family members who have passed
on. Each year, on Obon Day, Japan plays tribute to the young
girl and other children who died from the radiation effects of the
bomb by leaving thousands of paper cranes by the statue.
Childsplays A Thousand cranes shows why.
Following the play, audiences
are treated to both an Origami family activity plus a brief Q&A
session with the cast. This not only gives audiences a chance
to ask questions regarding Sadako but also about theatre in
general. At the performance this reviewer attended a child
asked Michelle a question regarding D. Daniel Hollingsheads eye
catching costume designs, particularly Sadakos kimono.
Michelle mentioned how long it would normally take someone from Japan
to properly attire themselves of such a complicated outfit, then
proceeded to unsnap Hollingheads clever all-in-one design
illustrating how performers can effectively change costumes in an instant.
If excited comments overheard in
the lobby after the show are anything to go by, this single simple
moment of theatrical reveal was just as inspiring to some as the play
itself. Thank about it. How priceless is that?
-- David Appleford, Phoenix AZ
of Theatre for Children and Young People
ASSITEJ: Uniting theatres,
organizations and individuals throughout the world
Did you know that Childrens
Theatre has its own worldwide advocacy origination? Its
called ASSITEJ which stands for International Association of Theatre
for Children and Young People. They sponsor a global event
entitled The World Day of Theatre for Children and young people, an
ASSITEJ campaign, promoted and celebrated through the message
Take a Child to the Theatre Today.
"World Day campaign enables
National Centres, individual members, companies, arts organisations,
academics, teachers, artists, practitioners and others interested in
theatre for young audiences to connect with the idea of World Day and
make the case for childrens entitlement to theatre
and the arts. Individuals from across the world are invited to
promote the World Day messages and consider additional activity
large or small. Each year ASSITEJ Centres around the globe deliver
activities ranging from conferences, performances, workshops and
special media events, connected to #takeachildtothetheatre.
Learn more at ASSITEJ website: http://www.assitej-international.org/en/
Christmas Wish from Lewis Carroll
To All Child Readers of Alice's
Adventures in Wonderland
by Lewis Carroll, 1871
At Christmas-time a few grave
words are not quite out of place, I hope, even at the end of a book
of nonsense - and I want to take this opportunity of thanking the
thousands of children who have read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland,
for the kindly interest they have taken in my little dream-child.