POSTED ON APRIL 11, 2012:
Dark Scrolls and Street Cred
Theatre and dance productions grace the April stage
The term 'children's theater' might sound like all fun and games. John and Mindy Barker, who run Encore! Theatre Arts are putting a fresh face on children's theater, by taking a creative approach to play by also teaching skills that will serve children far after the glow of the spotlight has faded.
"Improvisation involves gracefully adapting to unexpected situations and is an important skill that these children are learning in our shows," Midy Barker said. "In live theatre, anything can happen: someone can forget a line, a prop can get broken onstage, someone can experience a costume malfunction, etc. When these things happen, a child onstage can't break character and ask an adult what to do. They have to improvise and go with the flow. They figure out a way to take control of the situation and get through the scene as smoothly as possible under the pressure of doing so in front of a live audience."
"Teamwork and friendship are also important," Josh Barker said. "The actors depend on each other, trusting that their fellow actors will do their job to hit their cues, know their lines, etc."
Encore's newest adventure, The Lost Pages of Snow White: Search for the Dark Scrolls, takes several beloved fairytales and puts a twist into the characters and story line.
"We have taken the highlights from the classic fairy tales, then added more depth to the characters and their stories. We've taken these individual fairy tales and put them into this 'world' where all the characters co-exist, so naturally characters from different stories are going to meet and affect the outcome of each other's fairy tales. Part of the challenge is blending these characters' stories together and making sure everything is consistent to avoid plot holes. The character of Phantom is the 'lost pages' element of our stories -- he is an original character we created, and he fills in the gaps in the fairy tales, helping establish the relationships between various fairy tale characters," Josh Barker said.
"We want to make sure the audience understands that these are not 'Disney characters.' These characters are hundreds of years old, and we're recreating them and their stories, just like Disney created their own adaptations. We're also addressing a lot of unanswered questions in common children's stories: How did Humpty Dumpty fall off the wall? Where did the Evil Queen find a Poison Apple spell? Where did Maleficent find the sleeping spell for Sleeping Beauty?
'Round up all the goblins that live in your woods and check out this fantastic feast for the imagination at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center April 12-15. For tickets please call 918-596-7111.
Red Fork Revival
Tulsa Young Professionals, or TYPROS as it is affectionately known, has made a habit out of not only supplying the young professional crowd of Tulsa with networking opportunities, they are also giving back. Last year's Street Cred festival took a section of The Pearl in Tulsa, around 11th and Utica, and prettied it up with the idea of reinvigorating that section of the city.
This year, Street Cred moves to West Tulsa, concentrating on the Red Ford district. Red Fork was a thriving suburb many years ago; however, since losing the grocery store in the shopping center of Crystal City, the entire area has lost a bit of its shine.
One of the participants of the Street Cred fest, which will include volunteers from the TYPROS team to gussy up the area, are the dance group eMerge.
"EMerge Dance Festival's focus is on strengthening dance arts groups in our region through a comprehensive festival opportunity. We encouraged groups to collaborate with the performance areas surrounding community. This serves to create more opportunities for dance in Tulsa and in this case, site-specific dance. We know that dance art forms thrive in these communities, and in order to elevate them to the greater community, strengthening their foundation is critical to sustainability. The theme of 'emergence' is a direct connection between the type of art/dance project and TYPros project of helping this chosen community EMERGE in reality from their present inaccessibility. To highlight and make the people accessible so that pride in community and enrichment of environment and their neighborhoods can become fostered through the overall project.
"The dance festival portion of it brings awareness and rallies support and momentum for accomplishing the revitalization," said Jennifer Alden, co-founder and co-artistic director of Portico Dans Theatre. "The mission of eMerge Dance Festival is to support and promote community, interactive dance art and civic participation. For our purposes, interactive dance art means art that generates social participation. The process whereby this art is created, the means by which it is displayed, and the character of the work itself should inspire immediate interactions that connect people to one another in a larger communal context.
"The primary goal of the eMerge Dance Festival is to promote a revival of art's culture-bearing and connective function by reintegrating it into communal settings. Our community becomes aware of the revitalization happening in our community via our partnership with TYPros, and as they experience/view/participate in art/dance as a vehicle for promoting renewal and emergence among a community in need," Alden said.
EMerge isn't the only group participating in this festival; several other well-known choreographers and dance groups are lacing up their dance sneakers to help energize the efforts.
"Essentially each choreographer was in-charge of creating a dance work that was specific for the area, space, and community. For instance one dance company Portico Dans Theatre in collaboration with Monica Huggins Dance Project and Deborah Hunter and Dianna Burrup are doing a piece about the Route 66 Train and how it was used to transport orphans from the east coast into Oklahoma, of course using the train as a backdrop for this piece," Alden said.
Another group, TUMM in collaboration with Erin Turner, are doing a dance piece meditating on the soul of our Oklahoma prairie its history, native people and natural forces and resources and passing remains through earth, fire, wind and water. This piece is aptly being performed in an old burnt out location on the Route 66 main street.
"Another dance company, Living Water Dance Company, explores the internal and external motivations of moving through the area's past, present, and future guided through the stations of a labyrinth. These labyrinth stations are experiential, as in each audience member planting a seed or building a pebble alter under water, as a way to connect the current communities desires and needs to the potential growth in their area. A lot of what our mission is, is related to innovation in the creation of dance and this is the type of festival that helps us achieve that mission," Alden said.
TYPROS Street Cred descends upon the Red Fork District on April 13 with the Red Fork Revival Kickoff 5-11pm and April 14 11am-11pm. Red Ford is located on Soutwest Blvd. between the Arkansas River and 33rd West Ave. EMerge Dance Festival can be experienced at the famous Oil Derrick at 3818 Southwest Blvd.
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