Artists in Action: Celebrating the written word, in all its many forms
by Hervey Folsom
Special to The Star
Apr 21, 2013 | 4856 views |  0 comments | 228 228 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Left to right: Alex McFry, Jessica Vingers, Maren Christian, Madison Stephens and Lauren Frye, student winners in the DAR Good Citizen and Essay Competition, compare notes at the Bienville chapter’s gathering April 2 where they were honored for their originality in writing. Photo: Special to The Star
Left to right: Alex McFry, Jessica Vingers, Maren Christian, Madison Stephens and Lauren Frye, student winners in the DAR Good Citizen and Essay Competition, compare notes at the Bienville chapter’s gathering April 2 where they were honored for their originality in writing. Photo: Special to The Star
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The written word can be both enlightening and entertaining. For theater audiences, Shakespeare will magically transport us to another time and place in CAST’s next production, while essays by 16 Calhoun County students provided some eye-opening facts on American history earlier this month.

The Bard is back

With adults and children as actors, a stage that reflects a woods where fairies play and, of course, Shakespeare’s richly descriptive poetry, CAST presents “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” May 2-5 and May 9-12 at McClellan Theatre.

“It’s really going to be something special,” said Brooke Hunter, the play’s set designer. The stage will be pretty to look at, she said, with a forestry feel and elements of blue and green against a blue sky.

It will be presented as a standard play, she said, with two acts instead of numerous scenes as it is written in textbooks. In 1595, when Shakespeare wrote this classic comedy, audiences of the Globe Theatre stayed all day, according to “Six Plays of Shakespeare” by G. B. Harrison. But today, like then, viewers see The Bard’s plays to be highly entertained and escape their cares for a while.

The comedy portrays the events surrounding the marriage of the Duke of Athens, Theseus, to Hippolyta. These include the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of six amateur actors, who are controlled and manipulated by fairies. After the fairies interfere, the humans are confused as to what’s real and what’s not — perhaps it was all a dream.

In 1981, “Midsummer” was performed by the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Anniston, directed by ASF founder Martin Platt. In the printed program Platt described the play as “our journey to a distant but never to be forgotten world of adventure … a dream from which we need never fully awake.”

For ticket information, call CAST at 256-820-2278 or visit the website at www.castalabama.com.

DAR awards Good Citizen and history essay winners

An unsung hero received his due at a gathering of the Bienville chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution on April 2. Turner Davis, a fifth grader at Donoho, the winning entry in the chapter’s annual history essay competition.

Military officer Joseph Louis Cook, a forgotten patriot, was the subject of the winning essay, which also took third place in the state competition for his division.

Katherine Miller, chair of the Bienville competition, presented Davis and other student winners with their awards at the Public Library of Anniston/Calhoun County.

Davis tells Cook’s story through the eyes of Red Arrow, a Native American who knew the officer all of his life. Cook was adopted by the Iroquois after his parents were taken captive during a French raid. He later fought in the French and Indian War and the American Revolution in six different battles, including Valley Forge, when he became a Lieutenant Colonel.

“In case you did not know,” Davis read, “a Lieutenant Colonel was the highest rank a Native American could be at the time.”

Parker Moore, a senior at Faith Christian School, was the Bienville chapter’s overall Good Citizen winner, as well as Alabama’s central district winner and third runner-up in the state. In addition to their essays and grades, high school seniors eligible for the Good Citizen award were judged on their qualities of dependability, service, leadership and patriotism.

Moore’s essay focused on the contemporary definition of a good citizen. In today’s world, he said, good citizens must be more than hard-working, law-abiding individuals who are interested in their communities. A good citizen, Moore explained, is one that is active in the political process so as to keep America the land of the free.

Other essay topics included Christopher Columbus, his courage and faith in giving mankind a new world.
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