Monday, July 27, 2009

Benefit Performance: Interact with JUST/Act!

Teenagers! You can’t live with them, and you can’t live without them! Teen years can be the most difficult for communication, but families and friends are important.

Monday Was a Normal Day,”

a free two-hour interactive performance event at

ARTS/West (132 West State Street, Athens) this Friday, July 31st at 8 PM and Sunday, August 2nd at 2 PM

was created and is performed by JUST/Act!, a group of area teens.

The play examines the affects (in one week) of a Tuesday high school drug bust on friends and family members of those not directly involved in the event. In this performance event, after each act (or scene) the audience questions through an open forum the characters from the scene and, at the end of the performance, also discusses issues raised with all the actors.

“Interactive theatre is a very unique form of theatre because it breaks down the barriers between audience and performer and creates important dialogue about the issues that these teens and young adults deal with in everyday life,” explains Patrick Gallagher, a second-year student at Sarah Lawrence College. “It is a really unique experience for audiences, who are so often passive when watching TV, films or plays, because they get to ask questions and participate in a forum that they couldn’t in traditional plays and get to know the characters in ways they wouldn’t otherwise,” states Psyche Castro, an Ohio University student majoring in Art History who has participated in JUST/Act! for six years. “ I think that it develops a good connection with the community because it gives people the opportunity to go deeper into the play rather than just walking out of the theatre at the end of a play,” affirms Jody Pratt-Harrington , an Alexander High 10th grader who has been working with JUST/Act! since 7th grade.

“This form of theatre is a creative way to explore many societal perspectives,” says Corina Dalzell, a 2009 graduate of Athens High School who will attend Bennington College for theatre and dance this fall and participated in JUST/Act! for four years. She feels that this experience has been “a wonderful training for acting and a delightful community to be in as well as perform for.” Psych Castro believes that this experience has been beneficial to her “because I get to play roles outside who I am and see how other people play roles different from themselves and how we interact when playing these characters.”

These teens/young adults hope that others will see the performance and be interested in joining the project. “I definitely enjoy acting,” states Shannon Pratt-Harrington, an Alexander High senior also taking classes at Hocking College who participated since 7th grade except for a year she spent as an international exchange student in Germany. She believes that “all students should have the opportunity to do this type of theatre because it also touches on societal issues. I’ve also met a lot if great and interesting people doing this which has been very special.” Her sister Jody adds, “I would love for other people to be involved. I wouldn’t say that if I didn’t enjoy it so much.”

Just/Act! was originally part of several year-long 317 Board TEAM Athens County grant-funded projects. When funding for such projects ended, a group of eight teens decided to keep working to develop a more detailed drama than could be developed in a year. Teens continued to train in acting, improvisation and play writing. Playwriting for this form of theatre is different because the audience is the most important part of the play. Over the past two years area teens--grades 7 through college--from four school districts, Ohio University and Hocking college and from two counties worked to develop this play, “Monday Was a Normal Day” to be performed about local issues for this community and with the hope that other teens join.

“Creating interactive theatre differs from traditional performances because it is a democratic process from start to finish,” said Kathy Devecka, a theatre consultant who works with JUST/Act! “Students learn to work as a team. We schedule rehearsals around students’ schedules and work to include all perspectives. In the scenes, the dialogue and events are semi-scripted. But, in performance, the audience asks questions of characters in a facilitated forum after each scene. Thus 75% of the performance is improvised based on carefully constructed character back stories. So each performance is different because each audience pursues different information. The audiences become a learning community and part of this democratic process.” This performance event is facilitated by Kathy Devecka and former JUST/Act! member Patrick Gallagher.

Performances are Friday, July 31st at 8 PM and Sunday, August 2nd at 2 PM at ARTS/West, 132 West State Street, Athens. There is no Saturday performance. Doors will open Friday at 7:30 PM and Sunday at 1:30 PM. Light refreshments will be served after the event. The event is free. Donations are welcome and will be shared by ARTS/West and JUST/Act!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Athens DIY Homebrew Competition!

Celebrate Ohio Brew Week!
July 15, 2009, 5 - 10 p.m.
Homebrew Keg Competition, Hosted by Eric Hedin, Athens Do It Yourself Shop. $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Arts West, 132 W. State St. Click here for tickets.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

So much to do

So keep your chins up! I don't know who I am going to attend all of the million of events that are happening this weekend but I am fairly certain we will be host one of the only alcohol-free events this Saturday, so now that I've got your attention:

Aquabear continues their regular series of shows at ARTS/West this Saturday, July 18 with We March, Coshocton, and Colonies.

We March
A great mix of dirty 80’s hardcore, crazed acid punk, and a slightly bluesy underpinning that doesn’t feel forced in any way. – by John Geek, MAXIMUMROCKNROLL

Drummer Nate Scheible and Guitarist Todd Jacops used to play in the Athens, Ohio based band Small Object A. This is their new project. They will be performing an improvised instrumental set of rock and roll goodness.

Brian Koscho (Casual Future) and possibly a few others will be performing a set of rumbling loops with diatribes from famous historical figures.


Pay $3 at the door or help support Good Works by bringing some non- perishable, non-expired food and get in FREE!

Food will go to support Good Works' Summer Discovery Club for kids and a SUMMER LUNCH for children and adults. Last summer, they served around 1700 nutritious meals and are hoping to once again provide this and a warm atmosphere each day to people who are struggling.

Meals will be served following their Kids Discovery Club every day (M-F) at The Plains UM Church between 11:30 am - 1:00 pm for 8 weeks.

All ages, no alcohol.

Thursday, July 02, 2009


10 am - 5 pm in Bicentennial Park (on East Park Drive behind the Athens city pool)

Here is the list of artists that are participating -
Amanda Buchanan - glass
Beth Graham - jewelry
Don & Lori Hibbard - wood
Dave & Janet Gustafson - glass
Laurie Vancouver - pottery
Rene Olson - pottery
Carolyn Khurshid - soaps/lotions (demonstrating)
Teresa Bailey - wood
Louise Goebel - fiber arts (demonstrating)
Carmen Schultz - pottery
Jennifer Krisch - jewelry
Mike West - wood
Rick Crooks - metal
Jerry Swank - leather (demonstrating)
Susan Abramovitz - pottery
Kelly Lawrence - ceramic sculpture
Megan Almeida-Featheringham - fiber arts (demonstrating)
Judy Well - jewelry

Artist/craftspeople are selling their work and/or demonstrating and there will be a silent art auction which includes many pieces of art and much more. Part of the proceeds will be donated to the American Heart Association in the name of Marianna Mitchell, one of our members who recently passed away.

Miscellaneous vendors:
Ben Molina - balloon animals & hats
Kate Enger - juggler
Jeanette Ammon - massage
Patty Crooks - face painter
Humble Play: Appalachian New Play Festival - baked goods

Kid's activities:
make-n-take arts & crafts

Food vendors:
Kiser's BBQ Shack
Ali Baba's
Larry's Dog House Ice Cream truck is expected to stop by

Music performances:
Leah Nairn 10:30 - 11:30
Bruce & Gay Dalzell 11:30 - 12:30
Boys of the Hock 12:30 - 1:30
Casts of ABC Players' production of "Quilters" 1:30 - 2 & OVST's production of "Oliver" 2 - 2:30
Amethystone 2:30 - 3:30
Charlie & Celia Lewis 3:30 - 4:30
Musicians will be selling their CDs and OVST will have a drawing for tickets to "Oliver".

ALPACA (Athens Local Professional Artist & Craftsman Association)
Athens Community Arts, Parks & Recreation
Charlie & Celia Lewis (
AMAC (Athens Municipal Arts Commission)

We are hoping to bring back the tradition of the community picnic in Athens on the 4th of July with this event. There will be tables and chairs for eating but also plenty of room for throwing a blanket on the ground under the trees for a picnic. The food vendors will have plenty of food and beverage choices but, if you prefer, you can bring your own grill to prepare your own meal. Please, no smoking, no alcohol and no glass containers.