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Shakespeare, alive and well in Petaluma

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Friday evening I had the great pleasure of attending the Cinnabar Theater’s “Youth Repertoire” production of Macbeth. Now, Shakespeare in general, Macbeth in particular, is a pretty big chunk for any company to bit off, let alone a company who’s average age was 12 and 14, the oldest being 16. Well, these young thespians can justly hold their heads high.

Petaluma’s Cinnabar Theater has been producing plays, musicals, opera and concerts in the little red schoolhouse, built in 1908, since 1972 and can be justly proud of their long pedigree. Last Autumn I saw the Youth Rep’s production of “Annie,” which was outstanding.

The Cinnabar’s “Young Repertory,” is Sonoma County’s largest and longest running performing arts program for young people. In addition to the impressive year round schedule of performances, it annually involves hundreds of North Bay students in year-round classes and summer camps. The young Repertory is open to budding thespians ages 4 to 18, AND, no child is turned away due for lack of funds. There are scholarships in place. It is the Cinnabar’s commitment that the arts not be elitist.

Theater is one of the grandest ways for young people to find themselves. I so laud, appreciate and applaud the dedicated people at the Cinnabar making this opportunity available to the youth of our community. Not all students have the same skills and abilities and this alternative vehicle for allowing a young person to find their nitch is so vital.

I come from the “one size fits all,” educational generation. Being dyslexic and not having an aptitude for the “Three R’s,” I had appalling grades and therefore was not allowed to take the classes for which I did have an aptitude, ie. art, music, drama. In my day, those were perks that were reserved for the “good kids,” who got high grades in their academic classes. That’s sort of like having a school for animals where all the animals wherein the squirrel is not allowed to take tree climbing because he flunked flying and the bird not allowed to take flying because he flunked swimming and the fish not allowed to take swimming because he flunked tree climbing.

Well, The Cinnabar Youth Repertory prove that to be an obsolescent mode of education. Without organizations like the Cinnabar, who knows how many Olivier’s, Hepburn’s, Carry Grants, Boggie’s or Bacall’s might go undiscovered. But, whether any of the Cinnabar’s young thespians go on to make names for themselves or not, is not the major issue. The Cinnabar shows kids that there is a lot more to life than video games and shopping malls and that all self discovery does not necessarily take place on the foot ball field, not that there is anything wrong with athletics, hell, I was a competition diver in my teens – but in our current society, all too often the sports field takes precedence.

The Cinnabar in general and their Youth Repertory are well worth your attention and your support

You can read more of my work at The Questing Feast and you can listen to me every Monday from 4 to 5 on KGGV-The Bridge 95.1 FM or streaming worldwide at KGGV

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