Art on stage
Art and drama students joined forces this summer to create "The Telling Circle," a production of the Rutherford County Arts Council.
The council offered two summer camps at the Rutherford Learning Center for students K-12 throughout the past two weeks. A drama camp was held from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. and a "Visual Arts for the Theater" camp was held from 1-3 p.m. Both were held Monday through Thursday and the campers all worked to put together the best show possible.
"It's especially pleasing to have two different groups creating two parts of a whole," said Matthew McEnnerney, executive director of the council.
According to McEnnerney, the play is based on the beginnings of drama when families and tribes would assemble and tell stories. The three African folk tales that are depicted in the play are "The Girl Who Loved Danger," "How the Zebra Got it's Stripes," and "The Tale of Hamdaana."
"We wanted to do a play that used masks and the kids could do the sets. We decided to do it because it gave a lot of opportunity for art," said Diane McEnnerney, who wrote the music and adapted the stories.
While the drama campers were auditioning for parts and learning their lines, the visual arts students were painting sets and making masks for the characters.
The visual arts camp was taught by Roscoe Conn, an art teacher at East Rutherford Middle School.
"I have been working them to the bone. This is all kid driven. I'm doing as little as possible. But they are finding out that this may be a hard job to do, but it's fun," Conn said. "I wanted it to be the kids' project. They are going to make mistakes. But they learn from those mistakes."
Elementary age campers worked on their own art projects, like making paper mache masks and drawing their dreams inside of a jar, while the middle and high school age campers worked on painting the sets to be used on stage.
"We are pushing the envelope by having two camps going on but I'm thrilled at the amount they can do. The good part about this is getting them behind the scenes and letting them see what goes on," Conn said. "The joy of working with the older ones is that I can show them there's a job out there to be had if they don't mind burning the candle at both ends and being creative."
Matthew McEnnerney said he is pleased with the work that both of the camps have put in during these two weeks.
"The kids have been very well-behaved and disciplined. They have produced a lot of creative bits of artwork," McEnnerney said. "These camps are excellent in terms of social skills and being able to function as a team."
Campers will see their work come together tonight during the show's performance. It will begin at 7 p.m. in the Maple Street Theatre at the Rutherford Learning Center and admission is free. The project is made possible, in part, by support from the Grassroots Arts Program of the North Carolina Arts Council.