Hello Old Friend Theatre….
CCNY Educational Theatre performs “Fable Talk”
By: Lisanne Ware
“I don't know why I'm frightened
I know my way around here
The cardboard trees, the painted seas, the sound here...
Yes, a world to rediscover
But I 'm not in any hurry
And I need a moment
The whispered conversations in overcrowded hallways
So much to say not just today but always...
We'll have early morning madness
We'll have magic in the making
Yes, everything's as if we never said goodbye
Yes, everything's as if we never said goodbye...
We taught the world new ways to dream!”
On Saturday morning of October 27th I set out on mass transit earlier than I have been up on a Saturday in a long time to perform “Fable Talk” with CCNY Educational Theatre. “Fable Talk” is an adaptation of “The Tortoise and the Hare” written and directed by the talented Mollie Lief. I had the honor of playing a German psychiatrist lion named Dr. Moral, Emily Evans plays Olympic gold medalist Hare Hoppings, Rob Dunn is the adorable Shel Tortestein, Kat DeLapp plays a lively talk show host named Polly Panda, and Wendy Rojas gives the play by plays as commentator Fantastic Mr. Fox.
I was shaking as I reviewed my script on the subway. Though I have performed many times, this time felt extra special as it has been years since I put on my artist hat that I tried to give up. For me personally however, the life long artist that was sparked in me many years ago in my childhood is a flame that cannot be quenched. I couldn’t help but smile at the thought that this performance has the potential to spark that same flame in the children watching our performance. I was humming the above-mentioned song as I made my way to the performance and said to myself “I am enough, I am an artist”. I’ve never said goodbye to my artistry or my love of theatre and music because I was lucky enough to see live performances and had teachers who integrated the arts into curriculums. Passing this along to future generations is my passion and the passion of all of us at CCNY Educational Theatre.
Our first performance took place outdoors for the Hamilton Heights Parent Association. We arrived to an audience of many small children dressed for Halloween. Some gawked at us with wide eyes of anticipation, while others clung to their parents not quite sure if they were going to like this “thing” taking place. I was nervous with anticipation as well. This was my first performance in nearly 2 years. As the show progressed, I felt very lucky to be a part of this amazing and talented group. Since starting in my first semester at CCNY, everyone in the Educational Theatre Department has made me feel safe and at home. Today was no different. The warmth of support radiated off of all of us and the sense that we were all in this together for the kids was palpable. The audience of little ones laughed and clapped and all around had a great time. (As did the adoring parents) We were able to shake hands and speak with some of the children after the show. Most of the children I spoke to had naturally gone into role as the character they were costumed in for Halloween. I shook hands with and then got eaten by a tiny shark, helped a spunky little spider girl unravel the “web” tied to her candy bag, and was put under some sort of spell by a miniature witch. I’m not exactly sure what all those tiny beautiful minds got out of the show, but I am positive they experienced something. That is the beauty of art! Whatever they took away is with them for always now, even if it just simply inspired them to play!
Our second performance was very different from the first. We performed at a local Help USA Homeless Shelter. I immediately noticed how animated the children in the audience were and how excited and grateful many of the parents were. We set up in the lobby with just a couple of chairs and our bare bones costumes and the magic of the theatre began! I specifically noticed a very small child in a stroller in the front row who was smiling and literally trying to dance his way out of his stroller! Though he couldn’t have been more than two years old, he was experiencing so much. After working through the nerves at the first show, the cast was excited to do it again. I thought about how ironic it was that I felt so at home there with my new Educational Theatre family, yet we were performing for an audience struggling to find a place called home. I hope we made them feel a sense of home that day through the arts. Home is where the heart is and it was evident that the hearts of those children were bursting with pride as Emily in role as Hare Hoppings pointed to each and every one of them declaring they were winners!
Overall, the day was a success and so much fun that I didn’t want it to end! I feel lucky and excited for what is to come in my time with CCNY Educational Theatre. Working with everyone for the first time on that Saturday morning was inspiring and exciting. I hope we inspired the kids watching. I am so glad to be a part of this group and this program, I’m so glad the artist inside me never said goodbye.