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[AUG. 28, 2002]  "Coraline," by Neil Gaiman. Harper Collins Publishers, 162 pages. Genre: young adult fantasy/science fiction

Take Lewis Carroll’s "Through the Looking Glass," add a dash of Roald Dahl’s "James and the Giant Peach," a cup of R.L. Stein’s "Goosebumps" and a pinch of anything by the master Stephen King, mix well… and you have the story "Coraline" by Neil Gaiman.


In this enchantingly eerie tale, we meet Coraline (not Caroline, as she so often has to remind the adults she encounters), a bright, adventuresome young lady. Coraline and her preoccupied parents live in a very large house in England. Due to the size of the house, it has other occupants as well.

Next door to Coraline live Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, two elderly former stage actresses who love to reminisce on their days of grandeur and who are the owners of a large number of small terriers. Upstairs lives the strange elderly man with the mustache, who claims to be teaching his pet mice to play instruments.

After several weeks of exploring the house and the property surrounding, Coraline encounters a strange door. Her mother produces the key for her, and Coraline discovers that the door leads nowhere, or to be more precise, to a bricked wall. Coraline soon forgets about the door until several strange incidents around the house lead her to believe that the source of the recent strangeness is to be found somewhere beyond the aforementioned door.


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Coraline, through a series of events, finds herself trapped on the other side of the door in an alternate universe of sorts. Therein she meets the "other mother" and the "other father," creatures with buttons for eyes, who attempt to convince Coraline to stay in their warped world and become their daughter. The other world is full of creepies and crawlies and strange copies of the inhabitants of the house. Coraline finds during her stay that the "other mother" has kidnapped her parents and has no intention of ever allowing Coraline to escape.

Neil Gaiman is the critically acclaimed and award-winning author of the novels "American Gods," "Neverwhere," "Stardust" (winner of the American Library Association’s Alex Award as one of 2000’s top ten adult novels for young adults), the short fiction collection "Smoke and Mirrors," and the children’s book "The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish." He is also the author of the Sandman series of graphic novels.

Among his many awards are the World Fantasy Award and the Bram Stoker Award. Originally from England, Gaiman now lives in the United States.

[Bobbi Reddix, Lincoln Public Library District]

Jennifer Sydney awarded Steppenwolf internship

[AUG. 20, 2002]  Jennifer Sydney, a graduate of LCHS, Lincoln College and Illinois State University, has been awarded an internship in Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater. She will begin her one-year paid internship immediately.

"I couldn’t be happier," said Jennifer, who appeared in six theater productions at Lincoln College along with the vocal group Express and the college’s dance group. "I’ll get to do a little bit of everything. I’ll be acting in Steppenwolf’s next play, ‘The time of Your Life’ by William Saroyan.

"After that show is over I’ll be an understudy, work in the box office, possibly work backstage. I don’t have any definite assignments yet."

Because many of Steppenwolf’s founders are ISU graduates, the theater company chooses as many as two interns each year from ISU’s theater program. This year 15 students auditioned, and Jennifer and a student from Indiana were chosen.

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is an international performing arts institution, which was incorporated in 1976 with nine members, most of them Illinois State University graduates. The company now includes 33 theater artists, whose talents include acting, directing, playwriting and textual adaptation, and has performed more than 200 works.

It has produced a number of nationally known actors, including John Malkovich, Laurie Metcalf and Gary Sinise, who are still members of the theater company and come back from time to time to work in Chicago.


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"Steppenwolf takes interns only from ISU. It’s a kind of tribute," Jennifer said. "ISU has an excellent theater school and has a lot to offer students who are passionate about theater.

"I wouldn’t have gotten where I am now if I hadn’t gone to both schools," she added. "Dan McLaughlin and Jerry Dellinger [theater directors at Lincoln College] have been good directors and good friends. The teachers at ISU are also very supportive and very smart about their craft. They have had professional experience and can prepare students for the world of theater."

Jennifer has also signed up with a talent agency in Chicago. "I did a showcase at the end of my last semester at ISU for theaters and agencies looking for new, young talent. I signed with Stuart Talent, which can provide experience in modeling, acting and making commercials.

"My family is so happy for me. They are very supportive. I couldn’t ask for better parents."

She thinks she’ll probably miss Lincoln, but she’s very excited about this new opportunity.

"This is a big step — the start of the career that I’ve been dreaming of since I was a little girl."

[Joan Crabb]

Movie classics

Logan County Arts Association upcoming films

All upcoming monthly features in the Logan County Arts Association series of classic films will start at 7 p.m. at the Lincoln Cinemas, 215 S. Kickapoo.

Thursday, Sept. 12

"Breakfast at Tiffany’s" (1961)

Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Buddy Ebsen, Patricia Neal

Based on Truman Capote’s novel, this is the story of a young jet-setting woman in New York City who meets a young man when he moves into her apartment building.

Thursday, Oct. 10

Horror/sci-fi double feature

"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1931)

Frederic March, Miriam Hopkins

Based on the story by Robert Louis Stevenson. Dr. Henry Jekyll believes that there are two distinct sides to men: a good and an evil side. He faces horrible consequences when he lets his dark side run wild with a potion that changes him into the animalistic Mr. Hyde.


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"The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951)

Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Hugh Marlowe, Sam Jaffe

An alien (Klaatu) with his mighty robot (Gort) lands their spacecraft on cold-war Earth just after the end of World War II. He tells the people of Earth that we must live peacefully or be destroyed as a danger to other planets.

Tickets will be available at Serendipity Stitches, 129 S. Kickapoo; the Lincoln Public Library Annex; at the door; or by calling (217) 732-4298. Ticket prices are $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and $2.50 for children 13 and under. These features are one show only, with limited seating.

[Logan County Arts Association ]

Lincoln Community Theatre information

Lincoln Community Theatre’s box office, phone 735-2614,  is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday for the summer season. The office is located in the lobby of the Johnston Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of Lincoln College.

Performances of "Dearly Departed" are scheduled for July 12-20, and "The King and I" will be presented Aug. 2-10. Show times are 2 p.m. on Sundays and 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

The LCT mailing address is Lincoln Community Theatre, P.O. Box 374, Lincoln, IL  62656; e-mail:

Visit the LDC website at Pictures from past productions are included.

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