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Valley Arts crossroads

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Greetings, Valley Arts Crossroads readers. Paul Sills' Story Theatre opens in May at the Unity Theater.

Story Theatre is a grown up treatment of the stories and fables of the Brothers Grimm and Aesop. These familiar stories are brought to life and infused with a spirit of life affirming zest! Story Theatre happens when the actors both tell the story and become the characters, weaving the magic of storytelling with theater. It is a play that children and the child in all of us will love. This show is a can't miss treat for all ages.

Paul Sills, the famous founder of Chicago's Second City Improv Company, created and adapted Story Theatre while working with some of the great improvisational actors of our time; it was actually a Tony award winning Broadway show in the 1970s. The original production starred Linda Lavin (Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore), Valerie Harper (Mary Tyler Moore and Rhoda), Peter Bonerz (Newhart) and great character actors like Hamilton Camp, Melinda Dillon and Paul Sand.

The Unity Theater cast is a wonderful group of local North Bend and Snoqualmie adults and kids. Robert Boose, Ed Benson, Avery Ash, Bill Stone, Gary Schwartz, Craig Ewing, and Karen Nelson comprise the adult cast with young actors Sean Stone, Summer Nash, Paul Nelson, Rebekah McFarland, Abbie Grimstad, Connor Bloyd, Rose Young and Natalie Copeland.

The show opens on May 13, at 7 p.m. at the Unity Theatre and runs two weekends; Friday and Saturday, May 13, 14, 20 and 21. Tickets are $12.50 for adults and $7.50 for kids.

The Unity Theatre is located at 119 North Bend Way in North Bend. The theater is on the second floor of Unity Lodge, above the Singletrack Bike Shop. The box office is open at the Singletrack Bike Shop Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets can also be charged online at www.unitytheater.org, or by calling (425) 831-5667. Reservations are suggested.

Recently the Unity Theater played host to an Alternative Hafla. A Hafla is a Middle Eastern dance party and potluck. More than 50 women and girls came to this ladies only evening and performed for each other, sharing stories, dance steps and food. It was a huge success. Since it was a ladies only night, I was not able to report on it, but my wife, Tina (a former professional belly dancer) had this to say:

"The reason it was called an 'Alternative Hafla' is the music. Rather than just traditional Middle Eastern music, the dancers performed to everything from Pink's 'Get the Party Started' to the 'Pink Panther Theme,'" she said. "Their ages ran from 7 to 75 and their experience level ranged from a few weeks of lessons to 30 years of dancing. There were 22 performances, and I wish I could mention everyone by name.

"These dances were full of personal and artistic expression and really moved me. Seven-year- old Sarah Miller's dance to Avril Lavigne's 'How Does It Feel' brought tears to my eyes, it was so sweet. The beautiful Gerry Guenther, 75, danced to 'YMCA' and was especially inspirational to me.

"This was a fun evening with some very talented performers. It also gave fledgling dancers a chance to be on stage in front of a most supportive and enthusiastic audience. This event was presented by Carla DeArmas (aka Aleili; www.aleili.com), a North Bend resident and teacher of Yoga and Belly Dance. She plans to organize another Hafla in a few months."

* For more information, call Carla DeArmas at (425) 888-4544.

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