RiverStars Performing Arts presents “RED GOLD” an original dance/theatre work about Illinois Valley Food Farm Heritage set in a post apocalyptic world on April 13th and 14th at 7:00 PM at the Lorna Byrne Cafe/Theatre in Cave Junction, Oregon
Post apocalyptic entertainment is all the rage these days. Generally, the mass media popularizes a world that normalizes torture and violence. RiverStars Performing Art’s “Red Gold” affords a different vision, one where people take back some control over their food supply and work together to take care of their own basic sustenance. Told through dance and theatre, this magical tale follows the Vincent family’s quest to grow a garden in a world that has been devastated and overcome with concrete and pollution. We follow Levante, our play’s protagonist, on a wild journey where she meets colorful characters like Fast Frank, Queen Eisenia, HydroHarry, and Mad Chad. She dances with Dill, Lemon Thyme, and Savory, and goes on a poop gathering mission to build soil. Gardeners, children, teens and elders will love this whimsical, funny romp into the future that turns doomsday into a second chance.
Seniors, Taylor Hammers and Elijah Ocean, (Queen Eisenia and Fast Frank respectively,) are the first graduates of RiverStars, having studied in the program for four years in the advanced group, ArtStars. Both will delight audiences in their final student performances. These two performers have been adored and revered by Valley theatre goers for their vibrant performances in past productions. (Taylor as Tom and Jerry’s Cat in SuperReal and Cavetown Underground’s narrator, and Elijah as dog in the Heart of Winter and Generic Attractive Superhero in SuperReal.) Taylor, whose mother died of cancer last year, is graduating 6th in her class from Illinois Valley High School and is off to Pacific University in the Fall. Elijah will begin training to become a theatre arts educator for RiverStars. Both of their stories reflect the cathartic power of Illinois Valley’s Performing Arts program, RiverStars Performing Arts.
RiverStars Performing Arts offers free weekly dance and theatre classes, as well as creation and performance opportunities to all Illinois Valley youth, public, private or homeschooled. The theatre program uses Viewpoint Theory and the irreverent Commedia Dell’Arte style as techniques for quality acting, and Eveoke technique for dance. The program was seed funded by the Oregon Community Foundation’s Studio to School Program and has received subsequent funding from Oregon Humanities, Collins Foundation and the State of Oregon.
RiverStars was founded by dancefarm’s articultural director Gina Angelique and producer Christopher Hall, former producer and Artistic Director of Eveoke Dance Theatre. Eveoke taught more than 6,000 youth in San Diego from 1993-2013 and performed original dance theatre to critical and audience acclaim. The couple wanted to contribute to an arts soil for the valley that would eventually yield a well nurtured and vibrant Illinois Valley theatre scene. This work was in alignment with their mission to cultivate community and pursue sustainability for arts and agriculture. Dancefarm partnered with Three Rivers School District and Illinois Valley Community Development Organization with an eye toward sustainability of the program.
Having a prestigious and respected organization like the IVCDO serve as the umbrella for RiverStars is a reciprocal and positive relationship that helps ensure sustainability for the program. The Illinois Valley Community Development Organization is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working to improve the economic and social conditions in rural southwest Oregon through cooperative programs and partnerships. Executive Director, Kenny Houck comments, “IVCanDO is proud to support the powerful community partnership that brings performing artists directly into our local schools, empowers constructive youthful expression, and helps build the tradition of arts in the Illinois Valley.”
Scott Polen of Lorna Byrne Middle School has been the “principal behind the program” for Three Rivers School District. He is forging a new paradigm for community arts organizations and their capacity to partner with schools as an innovative way of ensuring high quality performance education for his students. Concerned that so much arts funding had been cut, and after school programs heavily favored sports, Polen worked with Gina Angelique and Lindsey Gillette to create a functional and reciprocal relationship that benefits his school and the greater community. The School provides significant matching in kind support vis a vis bus transportation home, dinner for after school participants and rehearsal space. This kind of proactive effort to support and enable quality arts programming has made Lorna Byrne a leader for arts education. Our local public school is buoyed by the program. Participant, Maya Houck says, “RiverStars days are the best days at school!”
Gina Angelique serves as RiverStar’s Lead Educator, articulating curriculum, artistic vision, and education quality. Lindsey Gillette is the program’s Project Lead, serving as liaison to partnering foundations and community organizations while teaching as the arts educator for theatre. The two work together to realize the vision of a comprehensive and high quality theatre and dance program where students contribute greatly to performance content. Both share the effort to constantly connect the program to improvement in the valley’s social justice issues. The leadership team includes Kari Kvittem as dance educator and Samantha Watson as administrator. Alisa Ocean is Costume Designer, Elijah Ocean is sound designer. Angelique says, “This show is a true triumph regarding our quest to align our theatre work with the agricultural history of our region. It has provided our young performers with outstanding opportunities to realize vibrant, whimsical characters that delight audiences.”
For more information, contact: Lindsey Gillette, [email protected] or 541-649-2333