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“Theater Can be Model for Other Groups”

Mary Vasey
Iowa City Press-Citizen
December 15, 2009

Let me introduce you to one more of our theatrical treasures: Combined Efforts Community Drama.

ts members are children, youth and adults with and without special needs. It was started five years ago at City High by Janet Schlapkohl and a small group of students and parents. Since then, it has grown to include, in addition to students, many community members. This year the group added summer stock and produced an original play with music called “Zombie Hotel.”

Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the presentation at the City High Little Theatre is an adaptation of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” titled “A Carol for Our Time.” The cast of 40 actors, singers and dancers present scenes from the original plus a glimpse of a possible future that we, like Scrooge, can change for the better.

This is a unique group. I learned about it last summer and became involved almost immediately. I have worked with drama in alternative schools for years so I appreciate what it can do to foster everyone’s self confidence, cooperation and mutual respect.

The degree to which the members of the Combined Efforts Community Drama troupe show respect for one another is awe inspiring. These young people are willing to make time to share their talents in spite of the fact that many have incredibly busy schedules. The result is a quality performance that features and challenges every participant in addition to thoroughly entertaining the audience.

Because it involves actors and crew with and without special needs it can be a model for other groups who see value in diversity and just plain good theater.

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