09/22/04 — Outdoors production pleases audience

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Outdoors production pleases audience

By Winkie Lee
Published in News on September 22, 2004 1:58 PM

The writings of Carl Sandburg and six young people's presentations of it received a good response from Wayne Community College students Tuesday night.

The performance -- and one for Mount Olive College students earlier that day -- preceded fund-raising presentations that begin Thursday.

As students and faculty arrived at the "pit," a sunken area surrounded by steps on the college campus, they heard live music by Steve James and Donald Thompson. Around 7 p.m., when the young performers came out, an African drum was added to the musical mix.

Sandburg was a poet, newspaper writer, critic, novelist, ballad writer and Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer. The program, entitled "The World of Carl Sandburg," included selections from his "The American Songbag," an excerpt from his Lincoln biography and, of course, poetry.

Giving the presentations were Michael Atkins, Helen Baddour, Mikal Hurrey, Marcia McCoy, Betsy Mitchell and Jeremy Sanders. Margaret Boothe Baddour directed.

Sometimes the young performers sat on stools behind stands that held their papers. Other times they walked in front of them, doing a bit of choreography and acting and, at one point, bringing members of the audience on stage to dance with them. At times, Hurrey joined the musicians, playing percussion.

Confusion about love, disgust about war and interest in nature were among the subjects in the work shared.

There was also humor, including a series of jokes.

The show lasted about an hour. It began at a time that had it opening when there was still sunlight and ending in the dark of evening, the performers illuminated by electric lights.

It was interesting to be outdoors, but also distracting. Loudly singing birds, a jet and a helicopter occasionally took attention away from the show, and some of the microphones used by the young people sounded muffled.

But their enthusiasm was evident, and the audience appreciated and enjoyed their work.

"The World of Carl Sandburg" will be performed Thursday at 7 p.m. on the grounds outside Rodgers Chapel at Mount Olive College, on Saturday at 7 p.m. outdoors at the pit at Wayne Community College and on Sunday at 1 p.m. indoors at the Wayne County Museum.

Cost is $15 per person and includes a picnic meal.

Tickets for the Mount Olive performance must be purchased by today. Deadline to buy tickets for the weekend performances is Friday.

Ticket locations are the Arts Council of Wayne County, the cashier's office at Wayne Community College and the Wayne County Museum.

People attending outdoor performances should bring lawn chairs.