Marian University Department of Theatre Tours Children’s Show to Local Elementary Schools

by Ben Tebbe, director of theatre | May 27, 2015

The Department of Theatre is engaging nearly 1,500 kindergarten through third grade students with the magic of theatre. May 11 began an eight day tour to 13 local elementary schools.

How Fox Fooled Everyone! And other tales from Latin America explores themes of self-worth, identity, and creativity while introducing students to Latin American cultures and Spanish language. Through the performance students are encouraged to participate in storytelling, art, music, and theatre.

The play was written and directed by Kristopher D. Steege, M.F.A., assistant professor of theatre with contributions from Carla Castaño, Ph.D., assistant professor of Spanish, and music by Laura Keefe.

"Working on this particular children’s play has been incredibly rewarding for me as a playwright, director, and professor. But as incredible an experience as this has been thanks to the theatre staff and the talented cast and crew, I still find myself mesmerized and in awe of the powerful interaction between the children, our audience, and the performers. As a practitioner of the arts for several years now, it’s not a surprise to me that we can create magic on the stage. Quite frankly, it’s probably taken for granted. But seeing it actually happen in the eyes of our young audiences is like reliving the magic myself. It reminds me just how lucky I am to be a part of this ancient art and it’s refreshing to realize that I haven’t lost my own sense of wonder, either," Steege said. 

The cast and crew includes Marian University students Hadeiyah Ameen, Ashley Ellington, Thomas Guilfoy, and Elizabeth Zur Schmiede. The students and Steege worked on the production – learning lines, blocking, choreography, etc. – for nearly seven weeks. Additionally, many contributions to the set, props, and costumes have been made by students in the THE 100 class and Department of Theatre work-study students.

"It has been so much fun spending time with my fellow actors and getting the opportunity to show children a culture they may or may not have come into contact with," Ellington said. 

During the tour, the show traveled to Holy Name Catholic School (Beech Grove), College Park Elementary, Indiana Math and Science Academy, McClelland Elementary, Wendell Phillips Elementary, Garden City Elementary, Center for Inquiry #2, St. Christopher School, St. Monica School, St. Joan of Arc School, Center for Inquiry #27, St. Luke School, and St. Michael & St. Gabriel Archangels Catholic School.

"This is my first time performing a children's play and it has been an amazing experience.  It's been a lot of fun playing with the characters, and engaging with the children as they help us perform some of the stories. Their energy really brings life to the play and stories being told. My 8 and 17 year old nephews got a chance to see it and they both loved it.  It's a performance that captures all ages," Ameen said. 

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