Archive for Monday, July 19, 2010

Wetlands program inspires young artists, actors

Actors with masks depicting native American lore and wetlands conflict dance in the opening act of a play presented in South Park on Friday. The play was a collaboration between the Lawrence Youth Ensemble and the Percolator, artists KT Walsh and Laura Ramberg, and the Douglas County Juvenile Detention Center.

Actors with masks depicting native American lore and wetlands conflict dance in the opening act of a play presented in South Park on Friday. The play was a collaboration between the Lawrence Youth Ensemble and the Percolator, artists KT Walsh and Laura Ramberg, and the Douglas County Juvenile Detention Center.

July 19, 2010

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Area kids take pride in wetlands

Area children have been working this summer putting together a community play about the wetlands for the Lawrence Youth Ensemble. The performance has been held at South Park. Enlarge video

Poems, drums, songs, dancing, writing and acting.

Area youths are getting the opportunity to try out some new ways of expressing themselves as part of Unmask.Unearth, a collaborative project sponsored by the Lawrence Youth Ensemble.

After more than a month of preparation, about a dozen youths performed a play titled “Discovering the Wetlands” over the weekend, with more shows coming up on Friday and Saturday.

Tyler Johnson, 15, got hooked on the project right away.

“I showed up one day and I’ve been a part of it ever since,” said the soon-to-be Free State freshman, who worked on the set and acted in the play.

Johnson said his experience working on the project also pushed him into thinking about a career in writing, and he said he learned some important life lessons about dedication.

“Show up for rehearsal whenever possible and don’t just skip out ...,” he said.

Rachael Perry, co-director of the Lawrence Youth Ensemble, said the project, a free program that’s in its third year, offered students like Johnson a chance to act, write and direct. “A lot of kids don’t have that opportunity or haven’t done it before,” Perry said.

The art used in the play will join other wetlands-inspired works from other area artists on Friday at an exhibit at the Percolator, in the alley behind the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H.

In addition to the kids who performed, Perry teamed up with the youths at the Douglas County Juvenile Detention Center, who made the masks used in the play.

Laura Ramberg, art teacher at the juvenile center, organized speakers to talk to the youths about the wetlands and provide an introduction to theater.

“They were exposed to a lot of different things,” Ramberg said. “It’s important to find ways for them to find their voice and for them to use it.”

Dakota Collins, 12, who will enter Central Junior High School this fall, already knew she loved acting, but the experience helped teach her about the importance of the wetlands.

“I’ve learned that the wetlands are pretty special,” said Dakota, who talked about preserving unmarked graves and the wildlife on the land. “I’ve learned to just embrace the wetlands.”

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 11 months ago

Yea, you wouldn't want these kids to get the idea that wetlands were anything but a future site for pavement.

zbarf 4 years, 11 months ago

I toss thy holy hand grenade of Antioch into the wetlands to kill the beast with HUGE fangs.

Silly...you bet

But no worse then the people who continue to pretend that the stinking bog south of town is some mythical land that needs to be protected from the evil people that want to make a road... so we can drive to work.

Get a life and If you need some issue to focus your energy on, why not protest the "No Left Turns" allowed in the construction on East 23rd St. Now that is a protest I would join in on.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 11 months ago

"so we can drive to work."

So, you're sitting around unemployed just because the wetlands haven't been paved?

"Get a life"

Perhaps you should follow your own advice.

Boston_Corbett 4 years, 11 months ago

who plays the swarm of mosquitoes looking for a clown face?

John Yocum 4 years, 11 months ago

Boston_Corbett "who plays the swarm of mosquitoes "

You beat me to it! OK, who plays the green sludge that sits atop the water to the north of 31st that the mosquitoes bread on?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 11 months ago

"that the mosquitoes bread on"

Do mosquitos live on bread alone?

IdahoWinds 4 years, 11 months ago

Come on folks, don't you get it? This is Mike Caron's way of keeping the myths about sacred wetlands, unmarked graves, little spirits etc. in front of the public. It is also to remind the public of how belittled American Indian beliefs are in the public's mind and to remind us that the American Indian spirit/culture will prevail in the case of the SLT - because, after all their lawsuit is going to shut down the SLT - again. But wait, entities within KDOT recently indicated through private channels that the Federal courts have already agreed to throw out 3/4 of the lawsuit and the remaining portion will be dismissed in court this early fall, if not late summer. The appeal process will also be brief and then we can finally move on to completing the SLT and getting past this "inconvenient" part of the Baker Wetlands history.

Ken Lassman 4 years, 11 months ago

Idaho and the rest of you cynics, you speak out of ignorance. This was not funded by Mike Caron, and the couple who pursued funding and led the project, reached out to the larger artistic community and also included providing some creative outlets for an even wider circle of youth than those who were in the play, many of who have had behavior issues. The various kinds of art generated stand on their own, and if you are uncomfortable in such projects finding out about and sharing a history that includes ambiguity and even controversy, then maybe you should live in North Korea.

I went to one of the performances and was blown away by the creativity of these youth. They not only created a very high quality performance for the audience; they also generated their own scripts over a several month period and the language was truly expressive, emotive, and inspirational to the kids themselves. Clearly, the creative guidance for this group of Lawrence youths was excellent, but the most credit goes to the performers themselves. They are an asset to Lawrence! Clearly, this whole project was a surprisingly good success. Kudos to all involved!

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