The Kearsarge Arts Theatre (KAT) Company, in collaboration with the M.Ed. program in Integrated Arts at Plymouth State College, brings its 20th season of children’s theatre to the state July 25-28 at Kearsarge Regional High School.
This season’s production is the world premiere of an original children’s musical, A You and Me World. Using comments on the topics of peace and justice sent by children from around the globe, KAT Artistic Director Trish Lindberg crafted the script and lyrics for this year’s production.
Children were asked to consider and respond to questions such as, “What do you think is the biggest problem we have in our world, and what would you do to try to fix it? How can we help the people of the world appreciate and celebrate differences? And, If you could do one thing to make the world a better place, what would it be and why?”
Lindberg says the thousands of responses were provocative and heart-wrenching.Amiyna Farouque of Amman, Jordan, wrote, “…the best way to a solve a seemingly eternal problem like world peace is to start by changing one’s self for the better. … If we were all one mono-cultural background, would not our lives be meaninglessly futile? Where would we seek the beauty of diversity and internationalism? And where would we have the heart to love a stranger?”
Amiyna’s comment inspired the lyrics to Heart to Love a Stranger. “Do you have the heart to love a stranger? Starving in the street. The heart to love a stranger, worn out and beat. The heart to love a stranger, different from you. The heart to love a stranger, through and through.”
A project two years in the making, A You and Me World features an international cast of 85 youth, ages 11-17. Sixteen of the students are traveling from 10 countries to be part of the cast and to live with host families in the area.
Performances are July 25, 26 and 27 at 7 p.m. and July 27 and 28 at 2 p.m. at the Kearsarge Regional High School in North Sutton (Exit 10 off I-89). Tickets are $6 for children and $8 for adults. Group rates are available. Tickets may be reserved by calling (603) 927-4899. They are also available at the New London Information Booth and at the door.
The production includes music by Kenneth Roberts of Great Britain and Cynthia Bizzarro, Rick Lindberg and Jeff Lines. Carole Morrison, adjunct dance instructor at Plymouth State and founder of B. P. Dance studios in Plymouth, N.H. is the choreographer. Costume design is by LouAnn Salchunas is the costume designer, and set and projection design is by Matt Kizer, associate professor of music and theatre at Plymouth State. PSC student Jesse Riley is lighting designer, and technical direction is by Nancy O’Leary.
KAT Company has premiered many original musical productions for children, including last summer’s Anansee the Spiderman and the Golden Box of Stories, and Mail to the Chief, which was performed by invitation on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium stage in the fall of 2000.