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A call for all weather volunteers

Tannis Kowalchuk and Brett Keyser appear in a promotional photo for The Weather Project.
Contributed photo

By Fritz Mayer
April 9, 2014

YULAN, NY — The NACL Theatre is in the midst of a two-year Weather Project, and this summer there will be an event in August that will be a fair, a play and a community event all wrapped together.

The theatre is putting out a call to any members of the community who might like to be involved. It’s not necessary to perform, said Tannis Kowalachuk the artistic director of the theatre. People can help with such things as building the set, but there will also be performance workshops.

A posting on the theater’s website, www.nacl.org, says, “We are inviting residents young and old to join in the research, writing, building, and acting of the play, either on stage, or behind the scenes. Bring your creativity to NACL and be a part of creating The Weather Project Community Pageant Play. At these weekly gatherings we will meet to research, write, make music, act, and develop material for the performance.”

Kowalchuk talked about the performance and the fair and exhibition preceding it, saying, “We’re planning to have this circus-y fair feel to the event before the performance. There will be stilt walking, live music, and a band will play music throughout the show.”

She said, “The performance is a climate-change themed piece, a play with a story. It will be narrated by a character called Stu Starkweather, developed by artist Bret Keyser. It’s going to be very much like an outdoor geek drama meets Federico Fellini and Burning Man.

“The large stilt figures are the storms and the extreme weather of the story, and Stu Starkweather tells various stories throughout the play. One of them is about a group of teenage science fair students who get caught up in a storm. They get blown to a land far, far away, and there are munchkins there, and these are the children from the Homestead School. They have figured out solar power, and their land is powered by solar. Then these kids go on a journey to find the great scientist, and they meet all these characters along the way.” She added that a choir is going to be a large part of the performance.

Also this summer there will be an art show, with more than 25 local artists creating works on old, recycled windows. The show is called “The Weather Outside My Window.” This is being done in collaboration with the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance, the Catskill Art Society, and with support from Sullivan Renaissance Environmental Initiatives.

This past February, the theater, with Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development, organized a climate-change symposium in the Town of Highland that featured over 20 expert panelists.