POSTED ON MARCH 28, 2012:
Warriors, a Princess and Dance Riots
A culture comes to life and children storm the stage
Tangible Tale. Warrior Spirits: Indigenous Arts from Papa New Guinea features shields, spears and colorful representations of a culture long past.
The term "Warrior Spirit" conjures up fantasies of strong, noble beings, with a spear or lance in one hand, perhaps on horseback, perhaps running through a field with tall, willowy grass dancing around a muscular body, eyes zeroed in on prey or unsuspecting invaders. These images can be further explored in the exotic exhibit at the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History in Norman.
"I am particularly drawn to the shields. Each holds different significance and can range from small and simple to large, colorful and full of detail. The exhibit also includes video of life in New Guinea, including their cultures, traditions, language and economy," said Jen Tregarthen, public relations representative for the Sam Noble Museum. "It's colorful, vibrant and filled with song, dance and other elements that really bring the exhibit to life."
The exhibit, Warrior Spirits: Indigenous Arts From Papua New Guinea features objects from the permanent collections of the Sam Noble Museum and the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art. From daggers carved from the bones of birds to carved shields, spears and bows and arrows, all objects were created and used by the indigenous people of present-day Papua New Guinea and West Papua, Indonesia.
"Visitors can expect to see artfully designed masks, weapons and shields. This exhibit houses intricately detailed spears and darts, ceremonial garments and cultural items of present day people of New Guinea and West Papua," Tregarthen said.
One of the most diverse locations in the world, there are over 850 languages spoken and hundreds of cultural groups. This exhibit reflects the diversity of the region, from the dramatic fire dances of the Highlands of West, to rituals of the ancestors among the Sepik River.
The Sam Noble Museum is short drive to the University of Oklahoma Norman campus at Timberdell Road and Chautauqua Avenue. Hours are 10am-5pm Monday through Saturday and 1-5pm on Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors 65 and up, and $3 for youth ages 6-17. Children ages 5 and under are free. Discounts are available for military personnel and their families.
"I believe that children are more creative than most adults and more trusting; they are more willing to takes risks, too. One of the most important, but difficult things for a child actor to learn is to project his voice properly," said Billie sue Thompson, director of Actor's and Children's Theater (ACT). "Do I enjoy directing children more than adults? No, but I do love children! But, when I get a fabulous cast as I have just cast In Theater Tulsa's next show, Arsenic and Old Lace, it does make directing adults more enjoyable and a bit easier."
Thompson is currently working on The Little Princess, a play about Sara Crewe, born to wealth and thriving in Victorian-era England, when one day she is stripped of her riches, forced to wear rags and work for her living. Can she keep the princess inside alive while sleeping in the attic and withstanding the hostility of Miss Minchin, the cruel headmistress? The audience will delight in the interesting, funny, sad, exciting and wonderful story.
"The biggest challenge in directing this show definitely has to be my getting the 'bright idea' that I could adapt the novel into a script," said Thompson. "This was my first attempt at adapting a play from a novel and it is not nearly as easy as I thought it would be. It actually has been very difficult. It has taken considerably more time than I have had to devote to it, and I kept changing the script to make it better, and frequently falling asleep at night before I finished a scene. Then, of course, the kids had to constantly adjust to rewrites, and all the kids wanted 'more lines.' I now have newfound respect for plays in previews, and for what the playwrights and actors have to do to be ready by opening."
Thompson, recent recipient of the first Mary Kay Place Legacy Award by the TATE foundation, is thankful for volunteers who help make such a production possible and the healthy atmosphere children and parents can share in producing plays.
"Cathy Cox and Cara Cox have given up their spring break just to help me with this show... Truly blessed with the ACT parents' involvement, participation and support, I could not do this show at the PAC without them. Parents have been involved in every area of production," she said.
"Tulsa children's theatre is one of the best activities for parent/child involvement. It is someplace where kids and parents work together and share together. Theater for children in Tulsa, I believe, is doing great and is a safe place that encourages creativity and cooperation."
The Little Princess will skip its way into the Liddy Doegnes Theater at the Tulsa PAC, March 30-31 at 7pm with Saturday Matinees at 9:30am and 2pm. Tickets are $12 and $16 and are available at MyTicketOffice.com and by calling 918-596-7111.
Who knew, back in the day, when one was singing, windows down, drowning oneself in the emo-goodness of Verve Pipe's one-hit-wonder "Freshman" that the same group would be offering an affordable concert to take the offspring to enjoy many years later?
"The Verve Pipe is the third concert of the 2011-2012 Family Concert Series hosted by the Tulsa Children's Museum (TCM), which will conclude with the TCM Family Music Festival at Mayfest on May 19," said Melissa Colegrove, program manager for TCM. "The Verve Pipe was selected because of the strong, positive messages to children and parents in their critically-acclaimed A Family Album, which is full of inventive and creative lyrics about everyday goings-on. This has an appeal to parents who were fans of The Verve Pipe's hits in the '90s, which helps us achieve our goal of providing music that is enjoyable to parents as well as their children."
In addition to offering a "no walls" museum with endless hours of fun for tots, the museum also hosts the Family Concert Series with loads of feel-good appeal, from the low-cost concerts, to promoting cultural diversity by presenting a wide variety of musical genres, to introducing a shared learning environment by providing integrative activities before and after each show.
"The Stay & Play Activities offer an experiential learning component to the concerts themselves, serving as an extension of the music presented by the artists. The activities are designed after themes presented by the music, making every concert a unique experience," Colegrove said. "Before and after The Verve Pipe concert, TCM will be bringing out one of its mobile exhibits, Reclaim This! Old Stuff, New Art, to make superhero figures while teaching about everyday superheroes that we find in our community. We'll also have a sensory area for the littler ones (although the big kids love it just as much!) and a Hero Hopscotch corner.
"TCM's Family Concert Series provides a platform for collaboration with our community partners, where we expose all participants to a variety of experiences and opportunities. TCM promotes community programs and artists by engaging them in activities before and after each concert. Past partners have included members of the Tulsa Symphony, Center Stage Performance Arts, The Dance and Performing Arts Academy, Oklahoma A+ Schools, Project CREATES, and Tulsa Global Alliance," Colegrove said.
"We are excited to be partnering with a new community-based program in Tulsa, Lemonade Day! Children and a caring adult are engaged in this experiential learning program that teaches children about owning and operating a business through a lemonade stand. Representatives will be there with information on how to get involved, complete with registration forms, starter kits, and drawstring backpacks for the kids!"
Recent concerts have included a wide range of music and good, clean fun that prompted audience members, young and old alike, to jump up and start a dance riot.
"For the first concert of the 2011-2012 Season, TCM brought in Grupo Fantasma, a 10-member Latin funk orchestra from Austin, Texas whose music draws on influences from salsa, old-school funk and reggae music. Their performance was unlike any other. The band lit up the stage with their incredible sounds that provoked children and adults alike to get up out of their seats to dance," Colegrove said. "Children crowded the aisles, jumping, dancing, and singing along with the music, a rare sight to see at the Performing Arts Center. The best part of the show was when Grupo Fantasma band members pulled kids out of the audience and up on stage, where they got to play along with the band with a whole variety of handheld instruments. We are grateful to the Performing Arts Center, whose staff has been so gracious and accommodating in helping us to provide a truly family-friendly environment for kids and adults."
Tulsa Children's Museum presents The Verve Pipe, Sunday, April 1 at 2pm and 4pm at the Williams Theater of the Tulsa PAC. Tickets are $10, with free admission for children 3 and younger who can sit on a paid adult's lap. Call 918-596-7111 or visit MyTicketOffice.com to reserve your tickets. Stay & Play activities will be held before and after each concert in the Doenges Theatre, located inside the 2nd Street Entrance.
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