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Once More with Feeling(s)

UWEC theater department puts on a show just for kids

Jeanie Butzler, photos by Andrea Paulseth

UWEC theater students get dramatic.
 
Above: UWEC theater students get dramatic.

Being a kid is not always easy. Children are often faced with difficult experiences just like adults are; however, it may be more difficult for them to understand these experiences and to cope with the emotions that accompany hard times. This spring, local children and their families have the opportunity to see a production of The Arkansaw Bear, which deals heavily with the emotions children feel when faced with the death of a loved one. The play combines humor, music, magic, and dance while delicately presenting the serious theme of death and its effect on a child. The main character, Tish, is distraught over her grandfather’s approaching death. She crosses paths with the world’s greatest dancing bear who is old – like her grandfather – and running away from death. As Tish tries to help the bear, she is able to better understand the meaning of life and death and begins to cope with her own emotions. Dr. Jennifer Chapman, UWEC assistant theater professor and the show’s director, says “kids will enjoy seeing this show because it respects that being a kid is hard; it shows how kids are capable of feeling things in a complicated way.” The Arkansaw Bear won the Best Play award from the American Alliance for Theatre and Education in 1980, and has been performed for numerous audiences for over 30 years to the delight and satisfaction of children and family audiences.

The Arkansaw Bear • April 14-15 • Riverside Theatre, Haas Fine Arts Center, UWEC •1:30pm • $3 kids, $5 adults • 836-INFO • uwec.edu/mus–the/