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ĎA Single Shardí

[MAY 29, 2002]  "A Single Shard." Linda Sue Park. Clarion, 2001. 152 pages. Grades 5-8.

This 2001 Newbery Medal winner takes us back to 12th-century Korea to the small village of Chíulpío, known for its pottery. Tree-ear, an orphan, received his name from a mushroom that grows on trees without benefit of a parent seed. He lives under a bridge and spends his days foraging in rubbish heaps for food for himself and Crane-man, a lame straw weaver.

While wandering the village streets, Tree-ear has had plenty of time to view all the pottery, but he especially admires the work of Min. Unable to resist picking up one of the pots for a closer look, Tree-ear drops it and offers to work for Min to pay off the debt. He finds the work of digging clay and hauling it to the work site much harder than he had imagined, but he volunteers to stay on after his debt is paid because he dreams of creating beautiful pottery himself.

The beauty of Parkís story lies in the descriptions of life in Korea and in the character development. Min the potter is a slow-working, short-tempered perfectionist. Minís wife is kind, and wise Crane-man guides Tree-ear with his thoughtful sayings. Most of all it is the determination of Tree-ear we admire. He has a goal and will do whatever it takes to see it to completion. Anyone else would have quit working for grumpy Min after an hour, but not Tree-ear. He rinses the clay more than required, spies on other potters and eventually takes the trip that will change his life forever.

 

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After a pottery-viewing visit from the royal emissary, Tree-ear volunteers to take two of Minís best and improved vessels to the palace for Emissary Kim to see. He is sure if the emissary sees this example of Minís work, he will be awarded a royal commission to design and make the vessels used in the palace for special occasions. After much preparation to keep the vessels safe on the six-day trip, Tree-ear sets out by foot with his precious cargo, a bedroll, a few rice cakes and a small amount of money. Along the way he has to find food and a place to sleep, outsmart a fox, and fight robbers. Arriving at the palace hungry and tired, but with a shard from one of Minís pots, he has to convince the guard to let him go in and personally show the pottery shard to Emissary Kim.

This story has adventure and suspense along with a very satisfying ending. Linda Sue Park has also written "The Kite Fighters" and "Seesaw Girl."

[Pat Schlough, Lincoln Public Library District]

 




Auditions scheduled for ĎThe King and Ií

[MAY 23, 2002]  Lincoln Community Theatre announces auditions for the final production of the summer season, "The King and I." This popular musical offers a number of roles for men and women, as well as for a number of local children.

The play, set in the royal palace of the King of Siam in the early 1860s, creates a dramatic, richly textured tale of an attractive English widow summoned by the King of Siam to serve as tutor to his many wives and children. Along with a dazzling Rogers and Hammerstein score, the musical weaves a tale of East versus West, incorporating both laughter and tears.

"The King and I" is directed by Jennifer MacMurdo, formerly of Lincoln.

Adult-only auditions will be on Friday, May 31, from 6 to 9 p.m. Childrenís auditions will be conducted on Saturday, June 1, from 9 a.m. to noon. An additional session, for adults unable to attend Friday eveningís auditions, will be on Saturday, June 1, from 1 to 2 p.m. Callbacks will be conducted on Sunday, June 2, from 2 to 4 p.m. All auditions will be at St. John Church of Christ, 204 Seventh St. in Lincoln.

Production dates for the play are Aug. 2-10. Rehearsals begin the week of June 17.

 

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The director is looking for children ranging in age from 5 to 14 years old. There are two leading male child roles. Adult roles include eight men and 11 women. Dancers are also needed.

To audition, be prepared with a song of your choice showing your vocal range. An accompanist will be provided. A copy of the script from this play is available at the main desk of the Lincoln Public Library. It may not be checked out.

Season tickets for the summer, which also include the June production of "Hello, Dolly!" and the July production of "Dearly Departed," are still available. Send check or money order to LCT, Box 374, Lincoln, IL 62656. Tickets are $20 for adults and $12 for children through eighth grade.

For information on auditions or season membership, call (217) 732-4763 or (217) 732-2640 or visit the LCT website, www.geocities.com/lincolncommunitytheatre.

[Judy Rader, LCT publicity chairman]

 


Wicked stepmother, torrential
rains donít stop Cinderella

[MAY 13, 2002]  At 6:45 p.m. Saturday it looked bleak for the 75 students involved with this yearís musical production of "Cinderella." Heavy rains had caused the LCHS auditorium ceiling to resemble a tropical rain forest, as buckets strategically placed in the seating area played their own musical melody of plop, plop, plop.

School officials concerned for the safety of the public could not allow the play to go on as planned. The leaks from the roof were one thing; the possibility of a section of the heavily plastered ceiling coming down was another.

The students, who had two performances under their belt but were looking forward to the big audiences the weekend shows always bring, could be seen in the halls, their emotions running from disappointment to tears. Residents who had started to show up to choose the best seats mingled in the halls with them, sharing the sadness that hundreds of hours of practice were being washed away by a roof giving in to the elements.

At 7 p.m., director Tom Quinn advised everyone mingling about the halls not to leave. The decision to move the set to the school gymnasium meant that the show would go on.

With that announcement, a mass exodus of students and audience, many carrying something from the stage area over to the gymnasium, began.

 


[Photos by Bob Frank]
[Though they're in the stands, this is no basketball game.]

There was no question that some of the play would be hampered in this "theater in the round" atmosphere. No pyrotechnics, no exit stage left or right was possible. The light show would be relegated to turning the gymís big overhead lights on and off to take the place of the auditoriumís spotlights. The evening would show that these problems would be relegated to mere inconveniences by the band, cast and crew giving their all during the performance.

The actors, now only a few feet from the 400 to 500 in attendance, ignored the fact that their markers were now free-throw lines and out-of-bounds lines rather than stage points. The play must go on and it did. Remarkably well, this observer must add.

 

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Without the stage to hide the activity a set change brings behind a curtain, the audience ended up being privy to all the machinations that make up a multi-set play. The students involved also showed their resourcefulness by not letting the mere inconvenience of becoming a road show in less than an hour deter them from delivering their lines on time with the same skill and determination as they had in the two previous performances in the auditorium.

There were a few non-scripted moments during the play. Since they added to the event by showing the studentsí resiliency and effort, they in no way detracted from the performance.

At one point when the fairy godmother is supposed to exit stage left amidst smoke and darkness, she simply walked a few feet past the performance area. When Cinderella asked the fairy godmotherís helper if she always exited that way, he replied: "Many times, but usually more impressive than that." The line broke up the cast as well as audience.

 


[By Sunday's matinee, the lighting crew had their spotlights in place.  But gym or stage, it never phased Betsy Buttell, LCHS's Cinderella.]

At another point when the transformation of the little mice to horses was supposed to occur amidst darkness, swirling lights and smoke, the gym lights were turned off as stage crew flitted flashlight beams around the area in a brilliant improvisation.

In still another scene, a crew member noticing the lost slipper was not "on stage" slid across the gym floor, planted the slipper and hid behind the prop bridge till the scene was over.

These minor gaffs didnít detract from the play. Rather they enhanced it as audience and cast alike reveled in the resiliency of the students to pull off a first-class rendition of Rogers and Hammersteinís play under less-than-perfect circumstances.

The two composers would have liked what they saw that evening. The audience surely did.

[Mike Fak]


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, June 13

Alfred Hitchcockís "Rear Window" (1954)

Jimmy Stewart, Grace Kelly, Raymond Burr

A wheelchair-bound photographer spies on his neighbors from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder.

Thursday, July 11

"Top Hat" (1935)

Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers

Showman Jerry Travers is working for producer Horace Hardwick in London. Jerry demonstrates his new dance steps late one night in Horaceís hotel, much to the annoyance of sleeping Dale Tremont below. She goes upstairs to complain, and the two are immediately attracted to each other. Complications arise when Dale mistakes Jerry for Horace.

Thursday, Aug. 8

John Fordís "Fort Apache" (1948)

John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Shirley Temple, Ward Bond, Victor McLaglen

In John Fordís somber exploration of "Custerís last stand" and the mythologizing of American heroes, he slowly reveals the character of Owen Thursday, who sees his new posting to the desolate Fort Apache as a chance to claim the military honor which he believes is rightfully his. Arrogant, obsessed with military form and ultimately self-destructive, Thursday attempts to destroy the Indian warrior Cochise after luring him across the border from Mexico.

 

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Thursday, Sept. 12

"Breakfast at Tiffanyís" (1961)

Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Buddy Ebsen, Patricia Neal

Based on Truman Capoteís 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.

"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 Theatreís website is at www.geocities.com/lincolncommunitytheatre/index.html. Pictures from past productions are included.  The LCT mailing address is Lincoln Community Theatre, P.O. Box 374, Lincoln, IL  62656.  E-mail: lincolncommunitytheatre@yahoo.com.

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