Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Black Journey: Time Travel Through Black Trials and Triumphs

Early in March, the Keswick Theatre showcased a moving and telling musical experience of black history and culture, Black Journey. Presented by the American Family Theatre, this musical production has been hailed as an incredible theatric experience, leaving audiences awestruck while imparting the important lessons of black history. The show was geared towards youth audiences, grades 4 through 8, seeking to educate them on the progress of black culture in America through time. Actors Miranda, Michael, and Janine took viewers back to times when Blacks were enslaved in America, kept from riding in the front of the bus during the Civil Rights Movement, and even still facing struggles in present time, including peer pressure and self-identity conflicts.  The performance reached the youth audience on a level to which they could relate, singing to them about important issues that have been endured in the Black community over time while reenacting periodic episodes along the way.

    Cast of Black Journey, actors Miranda, Michael, and Janine

At the March 1st showing, several Art-Reach members were in the audience enjoying the show, including RecCare. This organization provides one-on-one therapeutic recreation support services for persons with physical, mental, and/or emotional disabilities, as well as older adults with related challenges. Jen Loux, one of the RecCare Therapeutic Specialists, attended the performance with a client group; she and RecCare client, Stephanie, took time to speak with me after the show to discuss their experience along Black Journey. When asked what she enjoyed most about the performance, Stephanie noted that the dancing in the show was the same as it was “back then.”

Throughout the show, the actors took the audience along a time capsule ride through both song and dance.  Says Stephanie regarding the performance, “It was interesting.  It was telling history…it was happy.  Most of it was happy.”Stephanie really likes going to performances sponsored by Art-Reach, as long as “they aren’t boring,” of course!  She enjoys being exposed to different types of programming, and has been appreciative of the artistic opportunities that have been made available to her and RecCare through Art-Reach.“Since I’ve been with RecCare,” says Stephanie, “I’ve had more of an open mind.” More specifically, she is careful to note that she doesn’t believe she would have attended certain shows without Art-Reach’s support as well as her friends at RecCare.

RecCare has been very grateful for all opportunities Art-Reach has made available to the organization; this is a perfect example of how sharing the experience has made an incredible impact and difference in a monumental manner!

-by Talia Stinson


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