Sunday, December 18, 2011
BRANCHBURG — This week, David zum Brunnen will portray Charles Dickens in a one-person staging of “The Night Before Christmas Carol” at the Theater at Raritan Valley Community College.
The play is set in Dickens’ study on the night in 1843 when he developed the idea for his ghostly Christmas book. Zum Brunnen portrays 17 characters from the novel in the production written by Dickens scholar Elliot Engel.
Performances will be Tuesday at noon and 7 p.m.
The show is recommended for ages 14 and older. Both performances feature a pre- and post-show discussion and light refreshments.
Tickets are $10 for the noon performance and $25 for the 7 p.m. show. For more information and to purchase tickets, call (908) 725-3420 or go to rvccarts.org.
The theater is located on the RVCC campus at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
BRANCHBURG, NJ - The Theater, Raritan Valley Community College “The Night Before Christmas Carol.” David Zum Brunnen, actor, in a one-man show. Dec. 20 at noon and 7 p.m. $10 and $25. The Theater, Raritan Valley Community College, Route 28 and Lamington Road in North Branch. (908) 725-3420; rvccarts.org.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
EbzB Productions The Night Before Christmas Carol will air on the following public television stations in 2011...
KET - Kentucky Educational Television, varied air dates
Idaho Public Television, varied air dates
KLRU - Austin, TX, Mon 12/19 9PM
KCTS - Seattle/British Columbia 12/19 varied air tines & and other varied air dates
WKNO-Memphis, TN 12//23 8PM
WPSU - State College, PA, 12/24 9PM
KBYU - Provo, Utah, 12/25, 12 Midnight
Please check your local listings for air dates and times near you! Or you can order the DVD directly from EbzB Productions at www.ebzb.org/merchandising.shtml and watch it anytime you wish!
Happy Holidays and "God Bless Us, Everyone!"
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
December 9, 2011.......7:30pm......Reception to Follow Concert
"David absolutely becomes my great-grandfather on stage. - Cedric Charles Dickens, Great Grandson of Charles Dickens
Friday, December 2, 2011
Jan 20: Serena Ebhardt – “In One Era and Out the Other”
January 20 – 7:30pm
Serena Ebhardt: In One Era & Out the Other
Vanguard School, 22000 US27, Lake Wales
This cabaret featuring Serena Ebhardt is a patriotic history of the United States from 1901-2001. Serena turns past into present as she leads audiences through her patriotic prism to highlight historical events, headline news and popular song. This one-woman, musical romp mixes familiar songbook standards with the momentous events that shaped America’s 20th century.
Tickets for the Live Performance Series are: $20 for Arts Council members; $25 for non-members; students $5 and can be purchased by calling 863-676-8426.
Polk Arts Alliance (PAA)
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
The host teachers were elated and said that they had never seen their students open up so honestly to one another before. "There just hasn't been the venue for that kind of openness, empathy, and critical thought," said teacher, Dawn Streets. One of the host teachers, Elizabeth Carriel, said that she "has no doubts that these kids will always remember this experience."
EbZb Productions taught 8th grade students to conduct oral histories and then to craft the stories they gathered into a play. The kids and host teachers wanted to focus on the topic of "bullying." During their interviews, they gathered stories about homosexuals in the military, domestic violence, and the Civil Rights Movement (one of their African American teachers shared a story about going to a restaurant that refused to serve him b/c of his skin color).
The kids were so into it! They also each selected a pop cultural slide that resonated with them around the topic of "standing up for one's self, for others, and for what's right." All of the slides were compiled into a slide show that ran as a back drop/set for the performance.
The teachers were elated and said that they had never seen their students open up so honestly to one another before. One of the host teachers, Elizabeth Carriel, said that she "has no doubts that these kids will always remember this experience."
I just had to share with you the inspiration I felt. Not all of you are able to attend every event that we host, but you should be able to revel in and to know about the valuable gifts we contribute here. Like these inspiring 8th graders, we give our community hope and a reason to stand.
-Molly Matlock, Executive Director, Chatham County Arts Council
Monday, November 28, 2011
Night Before Christmas Carol
November 28, 2011 - 1:00pmShow All Times and Locations for this Event
Age Groups: Ages 8 and up, Family
Room: Programming Room
Sign up required
Join Charles Dickens in his study for a very special night. On this evening in 1843, he creates his holiday classic, "A Christmas Carol". Renowned Dickens scholar, author, playwright and lecturer, Elliot Engel has crafted a work that allows David zum Brunnen to portray the 17 Christmas Carol characters and Charles Dickens himself. Recommended highly by the Dickens family, MCPL is privileged to offer this performance to continue its Dickens' tradition!
Friday, November 25, 2011
The Night Before Christmas Carol at the RVCC Theatre
Actor David zum Brunnen will present a one-person staging of The Night Before Christmas Carol, Tuesday, December 20,at noon and 7 p.m. The presentation is part of the Theatre’s Tuesdays with Stories series.
"Join “Charles Dickens” in his study for a very special night.The Night Before Christmas Carol is an historically accurate and highly humorous holiday production by renowned Dickens scholar Elliot Engel. It is set in 1843 on the night that Charles Dickens dreams up his idea for a ghostly little Christmas book that becomes world famous. As the winter morality tale is composed, “Dickens” shares his inspirations with the audience members. Award-winning actor David zum Brunnen portrays Charles Dickens, as well as 17 familiar characters from the famous Christmas Carol. Dickens’ own great-grandson, Cedric Charles Dickens, has said of the actor in this role: “David [zum Brunnen]—absolutely becomes my great-grandfather on stage!”
The Tuesdays with Stories series is recommended for individuals age 14 and older. Both performances include a pre- and post-show discussion, as well as light refreshments. Tickets cost $10 for noon performances and $25 for 7 p.m. shows.
For the eighth year in a row, Courier News readers voted The Theatre at RVCC as the “Best of the Best” in 2011 in the “Theater” category. To purchase tickets or for more information, call the Box Office, 908-725-3420, or order online at www.rvccArts.org. A variety of subscribers’ packages are available for all Theatre series. Senior citizen, student and group discounts are also available for a variety of performances.
RVCC’s main campus is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg, NJ. Serving Somerset and Hunterdon County residents for over 40 years, the College offers more than 90 associate degrees and certificates. RVCC @ Bridgewater, located at 14 Vogt Drive, offers technical, trade, credit and non-credit courses.
The College is committed to offering a quality and affordable education through effective teaching, liaisons with the community’s businesses and state-of-the-art technology. For further information, visit www.raritanval.edu.
Friday, November 18, 2011
Thank you for your kind words. I, in turn, must tell you of the many, many compliments I have received on your performance. You helped to make the evening a very special one for the attendees. This afternoon at a ladies’ club meeting, one of the club members who attended Tuesday evening said that she felt she was at a dinner theatre in New York. Not bad to be compared to performances in New York. :>) You were both a hit. We are very appreciative for your sharing your talents with us.
The University of West Alabama
Thanks so much for your email. I assure you that the pleasure was ours. I wish that everyone that we have for our fine arts council's performances would be as great to work with as you all were. It was a lovely evening and we thank you so much. I hope you have a safe trip home and best wishes for a blessed Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Sometime when you have time please send me something about the Dickens holiday show so that I can have it for future reference.
Thanks so much,
Vivian D. Hauser
Secretary/Bookkeeper & Associate in Acquisitions
Julia Tutwiler Library
The University of West Alabama
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Sunday, November 13, 2011
8th Grade Teacher
MB Pollard Middle School
Friday, November 11, 2011
A moment to share:
Last night, I experienced the absolute magic of observing (and video
taping thanks to Bett Wilson Foley) the 8th grade performance of "Take a
Stand" at Margaret Pollard Middle School.
This was a play
that Serena Ebhardt & David Zum Brunnen of EbzB Productions produced
as one of ChathamArts' residencies in the schools. The residency was
made possible by Briar Chapel Development and the NC Arts Council.
EbZb Productions taught 8th grade students to conduct oral histories
and then to craft the stories they gathered into a play. The kids and
host teachers wanted to focus on the topic of "bullying."
During their interviews, they gathered stories about homosexuals in the
military, domestic violence, and the Civil Rights Movement (one of their
African American teachers shared a story about going to a restaurant
that refused to serve him b/c of his skin color).
The kids were
so into it! They also each selected a pop cultural slide that resonated
with them around the topic of "standing up for one's self, for others,
and for what's right." All of the slides were compiled into a slide show
that ran as a back drop/set for the performance.
The teachers were elated and said that they had never seen their students open up so honestly to one another before.
One of the host teachers, Elizabeth Carriel, said that she "has no
doubts that these kids will always remember this experience."
just had to share with you the inspiration I felt. Not all of you are
able to attend every event that ChathamArts hosts, but you should be
able to revel in the joys of each.
Like these inspiring 8th graders, you and the arts give our community hope and a reason to stand.
-Molly Matlock, Chatham County Arts Council
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
An anti-bullying play written by MB Pollard Middle School Students based on oral histories from citizens of Chatham County, NC.
November 10, 2011, 7 p.m. Free!
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
A performance created by the students of Anson New Tech High School in association with EbzB Productions.
Sponsored by the Anson County Arts Council with funding from the North Carolina Arts Council.
Ansonia Theatre, Wadesboro, NC
November 3, 2011 @ 7 p.m.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Missouri County Public Libraries
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
War Bonds: the Songs and Letters of World War II at the Midwest Genealogy Center last year was quite a hit, and it is coming back to MGC this fall. War Bonds, presented by EbzB Productions, is a multi-media musical journey through a war that redefined the world. By watching several couples in the audience at last year’s production and their response to the songs and dialog, the program hit sentimental as well as soft spots in their hearts. The actors encouraged audience participation as they came off the stage, sang to, and sat on the laps of audience members. During one tender song, I saw a woman reach over and clasp the hand of her companion. This brought a tear to my eye as in my imagination I saw them reliving memories from their war years apart. Definitely, I will be attending the next War Bonds program when it comes to the Midwest Genealogy Center on Tuesday, November 2, 2010. You can sign up on the website or by calling (816) 252-7228. We hope to see you there!
Midwest Genealogy Center
Tags: family programs, events
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Monday, October 3, 2011
...The Gala is Deep Dish’s big event fundraiser of the year. Guests will be entertained by Serena Ebhardt, who performed at Deep Dish this summer to sold-out crowds. Ms. Ebhardt will perform an excerpt from her cabaret "In One Era and Out the Other," an American History revue told through song.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
Thank you so much for your wonderful presentation [Wrights of Passage]. I loved every minute of it, and when you cried the words "He is airborne"--a thrill went down my back.
I cannot wait to see you in some production again in the future.
Garry J. Crites, PhD
Director, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
Duke Continuing Studies
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute -- Duke Continuing Studies
Monday, September 12, 2011
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
In One Era and Out the OtherThis one-woman, musical romp mixes familiar songbook standards with the momentous events that shaped America's 20th century.
In One Era and Out the Other
Midwest Genealogy Center
September 8, 2011 - 7:00pm
Show All Times and Locations for this Event
Age Groups: Ages 13 and up, Family
Room: Programming Room
Sign up required
Siren Serena Ebhardt turns past into present as she leads audiences through decades of historical events, headline news and popular song. This one-woman, musical romp mixes familiar songbook standards with the momentous events that shaped America's 20th century. It is all just a little bit of history repeating with an all-inclusive, uplifting look towards the future.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
“In One Era and Out the Other” Stars Serena Ebhardt in a Patriotic History of the U.S. from 1901 to 2001 | Triangle Arts and Entertainment
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Thursday, July 21, 2011
In One Era and Out the Other in Chapel Hill, NC 27515 at The Deep Dish Theater Company, Aug 6 | Tickets & Event Information
Sunday, July 17, 2011
EbzB Productions' THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS CAROL WINS SILVER AND TWO BRONZE TELLY AWARDS AT 32nd ANNUAL TELLY AWARDS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Linda Day, email@example.com
EbzB PRODUCTIONS WINS SILVER AND TWO BRONZE TELLY AWARDS AT 32nd ANNUAL TELLY AWARDS FOR THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS CAROL
Telly again proudly honors the very best commercials, videos, films and
New York City, NY -- (June 24, 2011) The Winners of the 32nd Annual Telly Awards have been announced. With nearly 11,000 entries from all 50 states and numerous countries, this year’s Telly Awards has been one of the most successful and competitive in the long history of the Telly Awards.
Founded in 1979, the Telly Awards is the premier award honoring outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs, the finest video and film productions, and web commercials, videos and films. Winners represent the best work of the most respected advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators, and corporate video departments in the world.
For its 32nd season, The Telly Awards once again joined forces with YouTube to give the public the power to view and rate videos submitted as part of this year’s People's Telly Awards. In addition to recognition from the Silver Telly Council, the judging panel that selects Telly Award winners, the Internet community helped decide this year's People's Telly Award Winners.
This year’s Winners include companies, agencies and organizations of all sizes, from large multinational media companies to small ad agencies and local production houses. A sample of Winners includes: EbzB Productions, Turner Studios, evans hardy + young, Jack Morton Worldwide, BSX Digital Productions, Michigan State University, Quigley-Simpson, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., FOX SPORTS NET, Nickelodeon, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Bass Pros Shops Film & Video Productions, Lockheed Martin, Miami Dolphins Ltd., Vox Pop Films, AEG Network LIVE, Kansas City Chiefs, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, Outdoor Channel, Time Warner Cable, Johns Hopkins Children's Center, Cause & Effect Productions, Inc., The Lighthouse Film Company, Eveo, Inc. To view the complete list of Silver Telly winners for the 32nd Annual competition, please visit www.tellyawards.com.
A prestigious judging panel of over 500 accomplished industry professionals, each a past Winner of a Silver Telly and a member of The Silver Telly Council, judged the competition, upholding the historical standard of excellence that Telly represents. The Silver Council evaluated entries to recognize distinction in creative work – entries do not compete against each other - rather entries are judged against a high standard of merit. Less than 10% of entries are chosen as Winners of a Silver Telly, our highest honor. Other outstanding work is awarded a Bronze Telly. For a complete list of Silver Telly Council Members, please visit www.tellyawards.com.
To find out more about the Telly Awards, please visit our website at www.tellyawards.com.
Please contact Linda Day at the Telly Awards (firstname.lastname@example.org) for public relations inquiries: (212)675-3555.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Artists from EbzB Productions (www.ebzb.org) and Mike Wiley Productions instruct Wake County Public School teachers on how to use Theatre Arts to achieve arts integration and 21st Century Skills in elementary education. Teachers conducted interviews for source material, wrote and edited an original script, and did a live performance entitled THE WHEELS ON THE BUS. THE WHEELS ON THE BUS explores the balance between the ideas of integration, diversity and neighborhood schools. In attendance for the performance were education leaders, arts council leaders, and Wake County public school teachers.
Friday, June 10, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
The Midsummer Music Menagerie
Submitted By Robin Krakauer
Oconomowoc, WI – With the warm weather approaching and plans for summer events starting, make sure you mark your calendar for these two spectacular OAC shows - Laura MacKenzie and the Lads and War Bonds – The Songs and Letters of World War II.
July 7 @ 7:00 PM, War Bonds – The Songs and Letters of World War II will transform the main stage into a by- gone era. Actual veteran’s stories create this sentimental journey back through the days when blackouts and rationing were a small sacrifice in order to obtain freedom. This production is a warm reminiscence and harrowing reminder of a time when the whole world seemed upside down.
Award winning artists, Serena Ebhardt and David zum Brunnen of EbzB Productions, a husband and wife team, bring in all the authenticity of period uniforms and clothing, along with the music, ambiance and props from the era.
“This show has taken off in ways we never thought would happen. We realized we had this treasure trove of information and that people needed to share stories about their experiences in WWII. It was important to us to document these life-changing moments in our history – not only for the people who lived through it, but for their families and future generations, “ – said Ebhardt.
This is the second season the OAC is offering the Midsummer Music Menagerie. These are both must see events!
Tickets are on sale now at the OAC box office. Adults and senior citizens are $18. Students are $8. Reserved seats. Service fees apply to all ticket sales. Call the box office at 262-560-3172 or order online at www.theoac.net.
Friday, May 13, 2011
An original courtroom drama created through an EbzB Arts-In-Education Residency at Gates County High School.
Gates County, NC
www.EbzB.org: Gates County High School Residency - EbzB - Picasa Web Albums
David & Serena,
Thank you so much for all you did for the kids at the High School; they will always remember what you caused them to think about, such as how many good things are here for them. People have a tendency get so busy in life; they forget to appreciate what is in their back yard or under their nose!!! They will pass these things on to their families without even realizing it. You accomplished it in a beautiful way. Most of us older citizens realize the treasure we have here, you helped to relay that message to the next generation. We are so fortunate to have Barbara [Toti] in the school system; she has a wonderful rapport with so many "different interest" kids. Over the years many kids have "found" themselves in her class. Your expertise made this project memorable in many ways. Hopefully this will help people realize that the courthouse is valuable to our legacy.
Good luck to you as you intermix with the young people in NC, the good things don't get much attention, keep up the good work!!!
Come back any time, please recommend the State Park to others, we are so proud of the things we have here and of the things we do not have!!! You are welcome to come during harvest time; it is a good time of the year.
You can be proud that everything turned out so well. The quilters enjoyed meeting you.
Again, we appreciate all that you accomplished here,
Looking forward to your return visit.
Owner, Lawrence Lane House
Gates County, NC
Monday, May 2, 2011
Saturday, April 30, 2011
APT: Excellence in Communications
Dear David and Serena,
As I said, [War Bonds] was pretty much a perfect project in my opinion. Coming from an arts education background, my favorite projects are those that teach without patrons realizing it. It’s even better with people sharing their personal stories. I learned so much about my own family’s history because of this show. A perfectly beautiful day.
I’d be happy to have you back in the future and am willing to provide references to encourage others to book you as well.
Janesville Performing Arts Center
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Other fascinating trivia, is that we have performed the show in 42 NC counties (out of 100), plus, of course, shows in SC, NJ, OH and WA. Also, Wake County still holds the lead with 30 performances, but Davie placed a strong second with 21 performances. Orange was third with 18 performances, with Clark County, Ohio and Cleveland County, NC completing the top 5 with 13 performances each.
Well, just thought I would share, since we are occasionally asked about the number of times we have done the shows during our Q&As.
Again, I trust that all is well, and I hope to see you soon.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Friday, April 8, 2011
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Mike Wiley: Creating Theatre from the Past | Black Issues Forum | PBS Video
EbzB Productions is the original co-producer with Mike Wiley Productions of "Dar He: The Lynching of Emmett Till" and "Life Is So Good." Serena Ebhardt also directed "Blood Done Sign My Name."
Monday, April 4, 2011
4/16/2011 7:30 PM
Janesville Presents! invites you to take a sentimental journey back to World War II through the popular songs of the period and actual veterans’ personal letters from the front lines. Actors David Zum Brunnen and Serena Ebhardt fill the stage with wartime memories and 22 songs, including “I’ll Be Seeing You”, ”Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”, and “As Time Goes By”.
In addition to the performances Janesville Presents! will be celebrating local World War II vets through a series of events the week leading up to the show:
JPAC Your Lunch April 9 at noon - showing of the Janesville 99 documentary "In the Hands of the Enemy"
WWII Essay Contest - we want to hear YOUR family's World War II sotries of the warfront or the homefront. Submit a 500 essay telling a true World War II era story for the cahnce to win 2 tickets to War Bonds and dinner at The Armory. Sumbit your essay by April 1 to email@example.com or mail to Janesville Presents!, PO Box 8251, Janesville, WI 53547.
Living History on Display! - Larry Splinter will have his World War II ambulance and other wartime artifacts on display in front of JPAC before the War Bonds performances on Saturday, April 16.
This amazing journey through the period of World War II will not soon be forgotten.
Adults -- $23
Veterans and Military personnel -- $13
College students -- $10
Students (under 18) -- free
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Last night truly exhibited a successful culmination of this step of the project.
Your talent and expertise is so evident in the outcomes of your projects I have viewed.
Serena, I wish you could see my body language now. It would prove that I tell the truth.
Hopefully we can continue a working relationship in Jones County.
Jones County Arts Council
Thursday, March 31, 2011
When June 20-24, 2011, 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Where Cary Community Arts Center, Cary, NC
Fees $350 for each school team
Participant stipends Up to $100, based on attendance
Teacher Renewal Credit Up to 3.0 credits
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Monday, March 28, 2011
Guided by writer Mimi Herman, students will also contribute their own creative writing and poetry to enhance the final script. The bluegrass band, Chatham County Line has given permission for recordings of their music to be used in the final production. This project will culminate in a public performance by the students for their peers and community.
Friday, March 25, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Thanks for sharing your talents for the benefit of our children, for all the extra work customizing a "Pacific NW verson" of the show, and your pleasant manner.
Wishing you safe travels,
Olympia Junior Programs
David zum Brunnen and Stephen Wall in
"The Wrights of Passage" by Serena Ebhardt
Thursday, March 17, 2011
The Legacy of Paul Green
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN NOW! WUNC-Radio Podcast
Thursday, March 17 2011 by Amber Nimocks and Frank Stasio
The Legacy of Paul Green
You may recognize the name Paul Green as that of the playwright who penned the long-running outdoor drama "The Lost Colony" or gave his name to the theater that houses the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Playmakers Repertory Company. Green's legacy is actually much greater. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, wrote screenplays for Hollywood and fought for decades in his home state of North Carolina for progressive causes and social justice. As part of our North Carolina Literary Lights series, host Frank Stasio explores the legacy of Paul Green with Laurence Avery, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill professor emeritus of English and author of "A Paul Green Reader" (UNC Press/1998); Marsha Warren, executive director of the Paul Green Foundation; and actors Serena Ebhardt and Steven Roten.
Friday, March 11, 2011
Enclosed please find a copy of the recently completed film, Harsh Ground, Holy Ground. It comes with our gratitude for the important roles you played to bring these stories to life. The response has been extremely positive because of the historical soundness, and visually engaging images of the film. Thank You!
Arliffe Mumford, EdD
Director, School of Ministry Episcopal Diocese of NC
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Herstory: September 11, 2001
by Serena Ebhardt
As with all EbzB Productions, it is my hope that this performance will celebrate the triumph of the human spirit; and inspire ongoing discussions that connect and unify us. United We Stand!
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Friday, February 18, 2011
EbzB Arts In Education Residencies
Chatham Central High School, Bear Creek, NC
Gates County High School, Gatesville, NC
Jones County Senior High School, Trenton, NC
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Feb. 22—War Bonds: Songs and Letters of World War II - Info - Trevecca Nazarene University - Nashville, TN - Trevecca.Edu
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Mike Wiley, Richard Glaubman, and David zum Brunnen meet in Troy, Alabama for a performance of Life Is So Good.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Meet the New New South: In the past decade, 1.5 million new residents have moved to North Carolina, a trend that is echoed across the region. As demographics and economic forces change, the South changes with them. WFAE and WUNC began an on-air conversation last summer about the New New South. We continue that conversation, as hosts Mike Collins of “Charlotte Talks” and Frank Stasio of “The State of Things” talk with guests about food, theater and cultural tourism in a special joint broadcast. Joining the program are Michael D. Harris, curator of the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Art & Culture in Charlotte; Margo Knight Metzger, public relations director for the N.C. Department of Commerce’s Division of Tourism, Film & Sports Development; Kathleen Purvis, food editor for the Charlotte Observer; Greg Cox, dining critic for The News & Observer of Raleigh; Marcie Cohen Ferris, coordinator of Southern Studies at the Department of American Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill; Steve Umberger, resident director of Festival Stage in Winston-Salem; and Serena Ebhardt, co-founder of the theater company EbzB Productions, based in Chatham County.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Jason Johnson A&E Editor
Author Richard Glaubman was in Troy last week to see the production of "Life Is So Good," a play based off of his book by the same title that tells the story of 103-year-old Texas Native George Dawson.
The book and the play tell the story of Dawson's remarkable life, showing the changing times of past century through his eyes.
Glaubman met with Dawson after he read an article about him learning to read after 98 years of being illiterate.
After meeting him they formed a friendship.
"I realized pretty early on that Dawson had a remarkable memory," said Glaubman. "The stories didn't come out for a good while though. Not until we became friends and I had been staying with him at his house."
Glaubman was here in Troy to give a series of lectures on the writing of his book and to give some tips on creative writing in general.
Before the play, which happened to be the first Glaubman has seen the performance, he gave a short introduction and discussed his time spent with George Dawson.
"George had never spoken to a white man in normal conversation before," said Glaubman. "After I opened up to him he began to trust me and invited me to live in his home for a while. "
Actors David zum Brunnen and Mike Wiley conceived and wrote the stage production and they took the stage once Glaubman had finished his introduction.
"Life Is So Good," is a two-man show that is based around narration.
One character would narrate and when the time in the story called for it the two men would use minimal stage props and exceptional acting to paint a picture for the audience.
Mike Wiley played George Dawson and a host of other characters through the show.
He is a graduate of Catawba College in Salisbury North Carolina and has over ten years of credits in theatre for young audiences.
David zum Brunnen who played Richard Glaubman has served as General Manager for Hedgerow Theatre, The Philadelphia Area Repertory Theatre and PlayMakers Repertory Theatre.
The two men were very talented and professional both on and off the stage.
The opening act was the two men meeting for the first time.
Wiley and Brunnen used scenes from Glaubman's second book titled "More Than a Book; A Story of Friendship," which is about the process of meeting George Dawson and writing "Life Is So Good."
The opening chapter of the book is George Dawson's personal account of seeing his childhood friend being hanged for something he did not do.
It's a really strong image that brings the readers emotions out very early.
The stage play of "Life Is So Good" was centered on the same thing.
Throughout the course of the play the actors would unexpectedly jump back to this gruesome scene until it climaxed with at intermission with Dawson's friend Pete finally being killed.
The rest of the play consisted of the more memorable scenes from the book.
This is where Wiley really showed his talents.
He was more than convincing as an elderly gentleman, from his choice in dialogue right down to his body language and eye movements he sold me.
He was as good as George Dawson.
Brunnen really did a good job of character acting.
His roll seemed quite difficult because he had to jump back and forth from the compassionate and uncomfortable Richard Glaubman to the hateful white men of the early 1900's with no time in between.
The play's conclusion was the end of George Dawson's life and the battle that
Glaubman went through trying to get Dawson to sign the rights of his story over to a white stranger from far away.
"I really enjoy the stage production," said Glaubman. "It really painted a very accurate account of 'Life Is So Good.'"
The book and the play are both well written and both based on quite a remarkable story.
The overall feel of the stage production is uplifting but it really hits hard.
The racy scenes aren't sugar coated, which helps for the message to sink in.
When I asked Richard Glaubman how meeting and befriending George Dawson had changed his life he had this to say.
"I try to be a better listener and to not judge but truly listen. I try to be grateful for what I have and be helpful to others when I can."
The moral of the play is simply George Dawson's mantra throughout his life--that is, despite all the hardships, Life Is So Good, and I do believe it's getting better.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
|Richard Glaubman, David zum Brunnen, Mike Wiley: Life Is So Good Performance, Troy, Alabama|
The two men had nothing in common.
But George Dawson needed to tell his story and Richard Glaubman needed to listen.
As Dawson talked and Glaubman listened, both of their worlds were changed.
Dawson was an African-American living an obscure life in South Dallas. Glaubman was a teacher and writer living comfortably in Seattle.
Odds of the two ever meeting were astronomical and a meeting would never have happened except for a newspaper article that caught Glaubman’s eye and tugged at his heart.
The article told the story of Dawson, who at age 98 had learned to read.
For some reason, the story captured Glaubman’s interest and he was soon on a plane bound for Dallas to meet Dawson.
“I’m not sure what compelled me to get on a plane to talk to an old man that I didn’t know,” Glaubman told those who attended his lectures at Troy University Thursday. “But sometimes you just know when the time is right.”
The first meeting was a bit uncomfortable for Glaubman as he and Dawson were from two different worlds. And, he said, it was probably the same for Dawson.
“Before he learned to read, the only sense of the world George Dawson had was what others were telling him,” Glaubman said. “And what he was hearing was filtered through their opinions. He had always wanted to learn to read but never had the chance. He was delighted at having learned to read.”
Dawson’s favorite reading material was the newspaper and he was finding the world a new and exciting place as he was no longer having to depend on others to tell him what was happening in the world around him. He was beginning to think for himself.
Glaubman realized the importance of Dawson’s story and Dawson agreed to tell it to him.
Over time, the two men became friends and Glaubman was invited to live with Dawson while his story unfolded.
“We were in the grocery store and Dawson was reading the labels on one product after another,” Glaubman said. “I asked him why he was doing that and he said, ‘Because I can.’”
Dawson’s reading level was rather low so he especially enjoyed reading children’s books to his great-grandchildren.
“Once, when we were driving along the highway, I could hear him reading the billboards just as I had done when I was about 6 years old,” Glaubman said. “His excitement at being able to read was much the same as mine had been. The sequence was the same.”
Together, with Dawson talking and Glaubman listening, they co-authored a book about Dawson’s life and his eagerness to learn to read at age 98.
The book titled, “Life Is So Good” is George Dawson’s autobiography. It’s the story of his struggles and his greatest triumph, learning to read at a very advanced age.
It’s also a book of inspiration because it comes for the heart of a man who treated others like he wanted them to treat him. It’s the story of a man who lived for the day because he had no promise of tomorrow.
It’s the story of a man who graciously and humbly accepted his “celebrity.”
When people crowded around him, Glaubman said Dawson said, “I’ve been ignored for a hundred years, if they want to talk to me, that’s all right.”
Dawson traveled to Glaubman’s home state for a book signing and attended a party in his honor.
“I didn’t think I would live so long that there would be a party where it didn’t matter what color you are,” he said.
Dawson died in 2001 but he lived long enough to attend a party like that and to know that the challenge that he had met and won will inspire others to learn to read no matter what their age and that they, too, can walk into another world all because they learned to read.
Glaubman isn’t sure whether Dawson ever read, “Life Is So Good.”
“He said that he had so many other things to read and that he had already read it,” Glaubman said, laughing. “That was George Dawson.”