Artfully Edmonds: Driftwood camps give youth a taste of live theater; plus what’s new at Art Walk Edmonds

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Kaelyn Langer-Mendonca

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve probably noticed the Wade James Theater located on Main Street, just up the hill from 9th Avenue. Maybe you know that the Driftwood Players who reside there, have a very active and robust theater program and that they’re fresh off of a sellout run of To Kill a Mockingbird. You might even know that they’re set to open the Edward Albee play, Everything In The Garden, this Thursday.

But were you aware of the youth education programs they produce, which can be just the ticket for the young ones in your life?

Drama can be a great place for young people to find their tribe. There’s a connection that’s made in theatre programs that can be an enormously beneficial part of a child’s development. Take Kaelyn Langer-Mendonca, for example. She began her lifelong love of the theater at the tender age of 10 and hasn’t looked back. If anything, she’s doubled down. After about 10 years in the field of mental health (she’s a licensed clinical psychologist with a PhD), she asked herself – “If I love acting, directing, and teaching youth theater so much, why does it have to be a hobby?”

So now she’s concentrating her focus on local youth theatre programs. She’ll be teaching Introduction to Theatre for the 9- to 12-year-olds for Driftwood’s spring break camps again this year, and has taken the additional role of spring and summer camps coordinator.

She’s got several irons in the fire. When I sat down to interview her, she was just getting off the phone with a set builder who had informed her that Jupiter had imploded, a first for this reporter. It seems that Dandelyon Drama, another theatre education program she works with, is getting set to perform Schoolhouse Rock, Live Jr. at Einstein Middle School in Shoreline. Interplanetary Janet is going to need a proper Jupiter. Fortunately, the show doesn’t open until next week, so she’s got time to restore Jupiter to its full glory. That’s showbiz, I guess.

When I asked what were her favorite things about the theatre, I expected her to list some of her greatest roles and achievements.

But that’s not what it’s about for her. She has found a community, a tribe, a place to belong. She wants to provide an entry point for others who will have the opportunity to be part of a larger enterprise, to get beyond the self. Theatre programs allow our youth to find a creative outlet where they can learn critical thinking, responsibility, empathy, accountability and how to work as a team.

Participants in Driftwood spring break camp.

Acting reaches an “interesting vulnerability,” as she puts it, and can be a very empowering experience. People have asked her if she has ever considered doing drama therapy in her psychotherapy practice. But Langer-Mendonca has rejected the idea for now. For her, drama in itself is therapeutic.

Working with young actors has special rewards. “What I love about them is their inquisitiveness,” she said. “Their brains want to know everything. They’re not old enough to know they can’t do something, they have a willingness to try things – it’s a certain bravery. I like to work dynamically with them to incorporate their ideas. We find out together what works and what doesn’t.”

For example, when a little boy wanted to perform an entire scene doing a handstand, she didn’t say no. Instead, they discovered together that it wasn’t going to work and incorporated his handstand idea into part of the scene.

This year’s spring break camp will include some interesting new classes. For those students who want to take their skills to a higher level, Driftwood will offer a stage combat class and a tech class to learn the ins and outs of sound and lighting.

Participants can choose from a week of morning-only workshops, afternoon-only workshops  or enroll for a full day of fun. It costs considerably less than a trip to Disneyland, and it may start your child off on an empowering track of lifelong learning, and love of theatre. They might even find their tribe.

You can learn more and register here.

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Edward Albee

Thursday, March 15 – Sunday, March 25
8 p.m.
(Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.)

The Driftwood Players
Theatre of Intriguing Possibilities

Everything In The Garden – (Edward Albee adaptation)

Directed by Joe Goins

This is a Giles Cooper play adapted by Edward Albee, the celebrated playwright who brought us Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and The Zoo Story. Albee has made a few plot alterations and “Americanized” this tale of keeping up with the Joneses.

The only thing standing in the way of Richard and Jenny’s happiness is a lack of money. The action starts with an entertaining comedy of manners. When Jenny begins earning money through a new job, Richard is not at all sure he likes his wife’s new profession. This biting, dark comedy about greed will leave patrons with much to consider.

Information and tickets here.

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The Northwest Junior Pipe Band will be providing music during Art Walk.

Thursday, March 15
5 – 8 p.m.

Art Walk Edmonds

There are always interesting things to be found in downtown Edmonds during Art Walk. This month, look for the Northwest Junior Pipe Band playing here and there as artists show work and demo at 19 locations.

Highlights include:

Aria Studio Gallery
Joan Archer watercolor demo – 6:30 p.m.

Driftwood Modern
new acquisitions of art work by
Mark Tobey and John Franklin Koenig

Cascadia Art Museum
painter Mimi Griffin shows work
(admission to museum free on Art Walk night)

For more information and a printable map of these events: artwalkedmonds.com/artwalk-this-month/

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Photo courtesy Edmonds Center for the Arts

Thursday, March 15
8 p.m.

Edmonds Center for the Arts
Film Cabaret Series:
The Buena Vista Social Club (1999)

Edmonds Center for the Arts
410 4th Ave N.

Arrive early for the cabaret prefunction at 6:30 p.m. – music and no host bar

Alma y Azúcar masterfully integrates beloved Latin rhythmic styles – Bolero, Cha Cha, Bossa Nova, Latin Jazz, Son, Salsa, and more – with more contemporary influences, resulting in what lead singer Alma Villegas calls “Latin music for everyone.”

Oscar-nominated documentary Buena Vista Social Club(directed by Wim Wenders) tells the story of aging Cuban musicians whose talents had been virtually forgotten following Castro’s takeover of Cuba. The musicians are brought out of retirement, resulting in triumphant performances of extraordinary music, and resurrecting the musicians’ careers.

For tickets and more information: www.edmondscenterforthearts.org/events/eca-film-cabaret-the-buena-vista-social-club

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Thursday – Sunday, March 15 – 18
Thursday, March 15 – 7 p.m.
Friday, March 16 – 7 p.m. (DHH)
Saturday, March 17 – 2 & 7 p.m.
Sunday, March 18 – 2 (DHH) & 6 p.m.

Madrona Children’s Theater Presents:
Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach

Mountlake Terrace High School
21801 44th Ave. W.
Mountlake Terrace

James and the Giant Peach is a magical musical full of amazing adventure and unexpected friends, written by beloved author Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda).

Join MCT’s production of a young orphan named James who accidentally drops magic crystals by an old peach tree. Strange things start to happen and James soon discovers a magical world full of friendly insects and learns that love and family can be found in unexpected and unusual places.

Performed in the beautiful MTHS Theatre, an enormous 30-piece live orchestra, intricate costumes, professional quality sets, and 100-plus students turn this school musical into an extravaganza.

Our information suggests that tickets will be available at Brown Paper Tickets until 3/11, and at door with cash or check one hour before performance thereafter. Subject to availability.

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Jake Bergevin

Thursday, March 15
6:30 p.m. – free admission

Music at the Library Presents:
Jazz “Edu-tainment” with Jake Bergevin

The Plaza Room
650 Main St.
(Above Library)

Jazz vocalist and trumpeter Jake Bergevin is often heard fronting his Javatown Swing Orchestra, and is known for his commitment to swinging the Great American Songbook. For the past seventeen years he has been a featured artist at the Ellensburg Jazz in the Valley Festival, and recently was guest vocalist with the Spokane Jazz Orchestra and the Tacoma Symphony. Jake also is a successful music teacher, leading the Edmonds-Woodway High School jazz ensemble five times to New York as finalists in the Essentially Ellington contest.

More about Bergevin at  www.jakebergevinmusic.com

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Thursday, March 15

5 – 8 p.m.

Edmonds Bookshop Author Event

Author Paddy Eger
Tasman – An Innocent Convict’s Struggle For Freedom (Young Adult)

Edmonds Bookshop
111 5th Ave S

In 1850, 16-year-old Irish lad Ean McCloud, steps off the boat — his legs in iron shackles — and steps into serving a three-year sentence at the Port Arthur Penal Colony in Tasmania. Falsely convicted, he must now survive the brutal conditions, the backbreaking labor, and time in a silent prison—a place that breaks men’s souls. Follow Ean’s adventures as he seeks not only to survive but to escape

The Edmonds Bookshop welcomes back one of their favorite local authors. Join them for the always festive Third Thursday evening, complete with snacks and beverages.

For author info: www.Paddyeger.com

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Andy

Friday, March 16
9 p.m.

Andy

Edmonds Center For The Arts
410 4th Ave N.

World music fans take note! An unforgettable night of Persian music awaits.

Davood Rezadei eshghe Andy bood, better known as Andy, has released 15 albums as a solo artist. His last three singles have ranked No. 1 in the charts. In 2013, Andy was nominated for Best Male Artist, Best Live Act, and Best Entertainer of the Year at the World Music Awards.

Tickets: www.edmondscenterforthearts.org/events/andy

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Saturday, March 17
Noon

Edmonds Diversity Film Series:
Mi Vida Dendro (My Life Inside)

The Edmonds Theater
415 Main St.

This film chronicles a controversial court case involving an illegal immigrant and the death of a young child. Filmmaker Lucia Gaja examines the evidence and suggests that the race of Rosa Estella Olvera and her immigration status may have a great deal to do with the verdict and that an innocent woman has been convicted of a crime she did not commit. Length: 120 minutes.

Learn more: www.edmondswa.gov/diversity-film-series

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Sno-King Chorale

Saturday, March 17
3 and 7 p.m.

Sno-King Community Chorale presents:
Musica Da Coro:
Mozart’s Coronation Mass

Trinity Lutheran Church
6215 196th St. S.W.
Lynnwood

Under the direction of local music legend Frank DeMiero, the Sno-King Chorale will perform this favorite missa brevis or short mass. (Some would say that’s a contradiction in terms — you know who you are!)

The Coronation Mass received its nickname after it became the preferred music for royal and imperial coronations in the imperial court of Vienna.

More at www.sno-kingchorale.org

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Naeim Rahmani

Saturday, March 17
6 p.m.

Music at the Museum Presents:
Guitarist Naeim Rahmani

Award-winning classical guitarist Naeim Rahmani will perform music by Villa-Lobos, Bach and Scarlatti. Rahmani has performed throughout the U.S. and internationally, and been honored with prizes from the San Francisco Bay Area Guitar Competition, the Louisville International Guitar Competition and the Northwest Guitar Competition.

Learn more here.

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Dervish

Saturday, March 17
7:30 p.m.

Dervish

Edmonds Center for the Arts
410 N. 4th Ave. N.

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with one of the biggest names in Irish music, described by the BBC as “an icon of Irish music.” All six members of Dervish are steeped in the musical traditions of counties Sligo and Leitrim in north-west Ireland. It’s an area that matches Atlantic coastline with storied mountains and rural landscapes. It has inspired a host of musicians, artists and writers, including the Nobel Prize-winning poet W. B. Yeats

Arrive early at 5:45 p.m. for happy hour before the performance.

Tickets here.

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— By James Spangler

When not actively scheming about ways to promote the arts in Edmonds, James Spangler can be found (highly caffeinated) behind the counter of his bookstore on 4th Avenue.

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