Nathan Wilson | Reporter
When applying for a Louisiana Project Grant(LPG), NSU Assistant Professor of Musical Theater Dr. Grace Edgar saw an opportunity to use the funds to offer the people of Natchitoches a new way to enjoy Northwestern’s theater. “There’s not a community theater here, so we’re here working with our artists and we wanted the community to have a free opportunity to learn how to sing and dance and act,” she says.
“We wanted to create that opportunity, and hopefully the grant will get applied for next year and this can be a yearly thing that’s done here at NSU,” says Edgar.
Jairus Killings is a student at NSU who just finished his freshman year. He is playing Horton, a compassionate pachyderm who takes it upon himself to protect those smaller than himself. He describes the experience. “I’m excited. I feel like this is a really good opportunity for the community to come together and have some fun.”
Killings describes the positive impact the performance is having on the community. “I feel like it’s a really good experience for the children who want to do this when they get older, so they have that chance to work with people who are doing what they want to do,” he says. He delivers a message meant for the audience and cast. “Have fun and let’s do some Dr. Seuss.”
NSU theater student Phoenix Woods is playing a bird named Gertrude McFuzz, who is smitten by Horton’s heroics. She describes the character. “She is a bird with a one feathered tail when everyone else has big old tails,” she says. “It makes her really insecure, and she just wants a big tail so she can impress Horton the elephant because she’s in love with him, but he doesn’t notice her.”
Woods describes working with children from the community. “It’s kind of my favorite thing ever,” she says. “All the older people in the cast, we all go to school together, but all the younger people in the cast, they’re all little kids in the community.” The presence of the children motivates her to create a better performance. “It kind of lifts spirits sometimes because you can’t be in a bad mood, you’re around kids and your there to help them and lead them.” she says. “It brings out the best in people, I think, being around kids.”
The cast members recite their favorite lines in the play.
“My favorite line is ‘A person’s a person no matter how small,” says Killings.
“They prove they are persons, no matter how small,” says Woods.
Performances will be in NSU Theater West 7 p.m. Friday, May 27 and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, May 28 and are appropriate for all ages. Tickets are free, but seating is limited to 95 for each performance. Tickets can be requested by emailing Yolanda Britton, BrittonY@nsula.edu
Nathan Wilson | Reporter