DCCA News: All politics aside


What you are about to read is very partisan, reflecting sincerely held beliefs and passionate opinions from which I cannot be dissuaded. But do not fear—this column is about the arts, not politics. And here is my directive to you the people—when Darke County Center for the Arts brings Missoula Children’s Theatre to Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall next week, you should be a part of this awesome experience.

If you know a student who will be entering grades one through twelve, urge them to audition on Monday, Aug. 1 for one of 60 available roles in MCT’s musical adaptation of Alice In Wonderland, which will be presented in two performances on Saturday, Aug. 6. Starting at 10 a.m. on Monday, those youngsters trying out will participate in a group audition where they will be asked to respond to a series of commands from the show’s friendly, helpful co-directors; and by 12 noon they will know whether they have been chosen for a part. Then at 12:30 p.m., rehearsals for the show—and what many past participants claim as some of the happiest days of their lives—will begin.

Sometimes very good actors simply do not fit any of the available roles; this, of course, brings up the sad reality that not all those who audition are assured of being cast. However, this unfortunate outcome can also be a learning experience, as coping with disappointments is a fact of life.

Theatre can be a powerful tool empowering imaginations, expanding creativity, and enabling growth by helping youngsters develop skills that they will utilize throughout life. By being a part of a community where all are equal, each with a unique irreplaceable contribution to make to the whole, students learn self-discipline along with a strong work ethic while improving their social skills. An enlightened comprehension of the team concept is gained while self-esteem is justifiably enhanced. But even so, at least most of the time, cast members only know that they are having a really, really good time doing stuff that is a whole lot of fun.

Intense rehearsals continue daily throughout the week, requiring true commitment to achieve a successful production. Lines are rehearsed, songs are learned, choreography taught, all led by the dependably competent team from MCT, but augmented by local students chosen as Assistant Directors during the audition process. Cast members assist each other, all working towards the goal of a job well done to result in a performance that will be shared with others—which brings us to the next point of my non-political platform.

Go to see the delightful product of this stimulating, joyful, inspiring collaboration by the citizens of tomorrow. You will be amazed at what can be achieved in one short week; regardless of your age, you will be entertained, and you will be uplifted by what you see. Little kids will enjoy the story; teenagers will notice subtle jokes and ironies underlying the simple plot. Adults will appreciate the strong values reinforced throughout the witty script. And almost everybody will leave with one of the songs enmeshed in their brains, grinning and humming all the way home.

In truth, my only disappointment with DCCA’s annual MCT theatre residency has been that almost the only people who attend the show are parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends of cast members; I think that everybody should go. Tickets are only $5; two Saturday performances at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. make it easy to arrange your schedule to get there. Do the right thing; get out and vote for the arts. Even those who don’t literally take a part in MCT’s Alice In Wonderland can help make a difference; you’ll not only support those students on Memorial Hall’s stage but also be helping keep the arts a great and positive force in our community.


By Marilyn Delk


Marilyn Delk is a director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

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