Late last year, as the student performers at the A.R.T. Institute readied for their newest production, a reworked version of the brothers Grimm tale “Hansel and Gretel,” they turned to their leader for some last-minute direction.The show’s youthful director, Allegra Libonati, ran through the scenes with a watchful eye, tweaking movements and adjusting lines here and there. The 12-hour days in the run-up to the production are the norm for the resident director who has her hands in myriad theatrical projects — and couldn’t be happier about it.“I feel like the luckiest person alive,” Libonati said during a break from rehearsals.Libonati has theater in her DNA. Her mother was in the original Broadway production of “Grease” and appeared in the soap opera “One Life to Live.” Her father directed TV commercials and music videos, and occasionally cast his young daughter in bit parts, such as a street urchin in a Richie Havens music video.“Nothing else really ever stuck as deeply as wanting to be in the business,” said Libonati. She fell in love with working behind the scenes while in college at the Tisch School of the Arts in New York City. There, she directed “The Island,” an intense drama about political prisoners based on South Africa’s notorious Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was confined for 27 years.“It just kind of rocked my world,” said Libonati. “It showed me how powerful theater can be, how much of a resonance it can have, and what kind of an impact you can have on people emotionally.”Libonati carried that passion to graduate school, where she reached out to one of her former professors in hopes of securing a brief internship. “I had always remembered how much I loved her work, how inspired I was by her,” said Libonati. That professor was Diane Paulus, who had just been hired as artistic director of the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.). Libonati’s internship morphed into a regular position as a fellow, then as an artistic associate. She became the assistant director on various productions.She has been resident director for “The Donkey Show,” associate director for “Prometheus Bound,” and assistant director for “Death and the Powers: The Robots’ Opera,” “Best of Both Worlds,” and the Tony Award-winning revival of “Hair” on Broadway. Libonati also curates “The Chairs Revue,” a festival of theater and performance in Harvard Yard.In 2011 she was at the helm of the reimagined version of the classic fairy tale “The Snow Queen,” by the Danish storyteller Hans Christian Andersen. It was performed by students from the A.R.T. Institute, a two-year, graduate training program for aspiring actors and dramaturges.“Children’s theater is an incredible, rich theatrical genre,” said Libonati. “There’s so much freedom and so many challenges in bringing a fantasy world to life that are a dream for the director.”For “Hansel and Gretel,” which opened Dec. 15 and runs through Jan. 6, one challenge was creating a new version of the crafty and cunning witch at the story’s core. For help, Libonati turned to Michael Kane, the former institute member and puppeteer who had created the enormous head of the A.R.T.’s eerie snow queen.For “Hansel and Gretel,” Kane’s “amazing creative mind,” in collaboration with the team of actors and designers, developed a witch with a giant talking stomach, a nod to the play’s themes of gluttony and desire. But Libonati and her creative team didn’t just rework the wicked witch. They also reframed the narrative around the Grimm brothers’ dark source material.“There are haunting issues of abandonment and hunger. We wanted to find a way to get into that story but come away with a message of family and coming together,” said Libonati.In the end she and her collaborators removed the character of the evil stepmother altogether. Instead, the story revolves around the play’s two young protagonists, their trials with the child-eating witch, and their efforts to reunite their family.“We didn’t want to vilify one parent over another and instead focused on how a young brother and sister could bring the family back together,” Libonati said.The production also includes a tangible social message. Audience members are encouraged to bring canned food to the show. Libonati helped to plan and organize a food drive as part of the theater experience, in keeping with the A.R.T.’s directive of “expanding the boundaries of theater.”“Hansel and Gretel are hungry, yet they are able to find strength in themselves to continue to take care of each other,” said Libonati. “We are giving children who come to see the show an opportunity to really take social action themselves.” read more
Batesville, In. — The Coalition for a Drug-Free Batesville would like community members to participate in the 2019 Community Perception Survey.This survey will ask community members to express their thoughts about a variety of topics around substance use and abuse. The Coalition will use the results from this survey to look at what the community perception is on specific topics to allow them to create what their focus of work will be over the next year and beyond.All who take the survey will be put in to a drawing for a $50 gift card if you choose to include your name and e-mail address at the completion of the survey.Click here to take the survey.
The Undergraduate Student Government Senate cleared up unfinished business before voting to fund a sustainability conference for leaders of the Environmental Student Assembly at its first meeting of the semester Tuesday evening in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center.ESA, a USG body composed of several student organizations — including the Environmental Core, Greeks Go Green and the USC Bike Coalition — aims to “program events promoting the green culture, sustainability, and environmental advocacy at USC,” according to its website.At Tuesday’s meeting, three members of the organization’s executive board — Director Ahlia Bethea and Assistant Directors Elliott Wezerek and Kaitlin Kinsella — introduced their plan to attend the Twelfth International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, and requested funding from the Senate.The conference, which will take place in Portland, Oregon from Jan. 21-23, will explore themes of environmental sustainability, sustainable economics, sustainability in policy and practice and sustainability in education through a variety of publication presentations, workshops, exhibits, discussions and plenary speakers.“It’s an academic conference looking at the frontiers of sustainability in a very broad sense,” Wezerek said.Wezerek, Bethea and Kinsella requested $1,790 to cover airfare, lodging and conference registration fees; they plan to pay for food and in-conference transportation out of pocket.The goal of attending the conference, according to Wezerek, is to develop leadership and facilitate advocacy in environmental sustainability in accordance with the Sustainability 2020 plan unveiled in December.ESA leaders who attend the event can learn from speakers and events at the conference, and bring back what they learn to help implement sustainable practices at USC.“There hasn’t been a student engagement piece with Sustainability 2020,” Wezerek said. “Students don’t feel like they’re connected to the document or have any input, so this is a chance for them to feel like they have a voice.”The proposal was approved with a unanimous vote from the USG Senate.“We’re all really excited, because we’re happy to see that USC, and the Senate in particular, is so invested in the advancement of its student leaders,” Bethea said after the vote.“This conference is going to do a lot for us — we’re going to learn a lot, gain a lot of valuable resources and connections that’s going to enable us to better serve our constituents. Anything that we can do to better ourselves, and in turn better the community and the world, is something that’s important to us.”Before moving on to new business, including the ESA proposal, the Senate swore in three new USG justices. The meeting also established an agenda for future votes; next week, the Senate will vote on a budget reallocation proposal, which suggests moving $5,000 in funding to support the newly-created Service Student Assembly. The funding had previously been reserved for a proposed Religious Student Assembly, which was never formed.Toward the end of the meeting, USG Vice President Jordan Fowler announced junior Tricia Xu as the new USG Parliamentarian for Spring 2016. Xu, a business administration major, will ensure that Senate meetings follow parliamentary procedure.USG Program Board Director Diana Jimenez also nominated three students to executive positions; the Senate will vote on the approval of these appointments next week. read more
Written By Raj Sarkar SUBSCRIBE TO US Also Read | UFC: Bryce Mitchell Earns $50,000 Bonus For ‘Twister’ Submission After Matt Sayles WinUFC: Jorge Masvidal call-outsJorge Masvidal did not hold back and called out superstar boxers like Canelo Alvarez and Floyd Mayweather in recent times. The Miami based fighter claimed that he would break Canelo Alvarez’s face in a fight and undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather is also on his radar for 2020. Let us see what’s in store for Jorge Masvidal. Also Read | UFC Fighter Alistair Overeem Suffers GRUESOME Injury With Lip Hanging From His FaceAlso Read | Khabib Nurmagomedov Outshines Anthony Joshua And Andy Ruiz Jr At Clash On The Dunes First Published: 10th December, 2019 15:23 IST WATCH US LIVE Last Updated: 10th December, 2019 16:51 IST Jorge Masvidal Says He Is Not Waiting For A Potential Fight Against Nick Diaz Jorge Masvidal is the real deal of UFC at this moment. Despite Nick Diaz’s callout, the BMF is not waiting for a potential fight against him. Know more. FOLLOW US Jorge Masvidal has earned the ‘top-spot’ in UFC and he is waiting for no one. After a terrific 2019, Masvidal has become one of the biggest superstars on the UFC roster and fighters have been taking up his name pretty often. Nick Diaz is definitely one of them. After Nate Diaz’s unfortunate defeat against Jorge Masvidal at UFC 244, the elder Diaz expressed his urge to fight the BMF titleholder again. Jorge Masvidal is also eager to take up a fight against Nick Diaz, but he is not going to wait for the match to materialise.Also Read | Max Holloway Reveals His Condition For A UFC Re-match Against Conor McGregorUFC: Jorge Masvidal is not waiting for Nick DiazThe BMF Champion has been vocal about his interests. He is looking to face Conor McGregor, Nick Diaz and Floyd Mayweather among others, for a fight in 2020. However, in a recent interview with American media, Jorge Masvidal said that he is not going to sit and wait for Nick Diaz to appear in front of him. The 35-year-old American has already bagged some important victories in his career and he is looking forward to more “big money” fights in the future.After a brutal UFC 244 main-event, Nick Diaz said that he is the real BMF and Jorge Masvidal just fought his baby brother for the title. The Stockton veteran had his last fight against Anderson Silva in 2015. Since then, he has been out of the sport. Despite igniting a potential matchup with Jorge Masvidal, Nick Diaz was quiet and the BMF seems to have lost his interest over the elder Diaz. LIVE TV COMMENT read more
Former Black Stars head coach Kwesi Appiah has blamed the lack of quality in personnel for Ghana’s poor performance at the 2019 Afcon in Egypt.The Black Stars exited the competition at the round of 16 stage via penalty shootout against Tunisia.Barely eight months after the competition,Appiah has admitted that the squad assembled by him was not good enough to win the tournament.“Sometimes we need to be frank with each other.“There is no competition where we can just walk in and expect to emerge winners.“Every coach and every team that came to the Afcon came with the intention to win.According to Appiah, Ghana did not have a superior squad to other nations at the competition but were determined to make the most of the situation.“We actually did the best that we can because I looked at my players and felt that a lot of them needed exposure and experience to get them to the top level.’“When we talk about the top level, we need ask ourselves, ‘how many of our players are playing at that level’?“Look at the Micheal Essien era where they had John Mensah and John Paintsil all of them were playing at the highest level so it becomes easier for any coach.“With this particular tournament we thought that many of our guys have not played at the top level and they haven’t played together as a team.“We will go out there with ambition to play as a team but we should not think that it is going to be easy,”he revealed on Face to Face on Citi TV.Appiah has just launched his autobiography titled “Leaders don’t have to Yell” where he addresses issues from his plating days to Ghana’s World Cup campaign in Brazil. read more
URBANDALE — The Westside Conservative Club in metro Des Moines routinely hosts the state’s Republican officeholders and candidates for the presidency as well as state and local office. Early this morning, the club resumed its meetings at The Machine Shed restaurant in Urbandale.State Senator Brad Zaun, the invited speaker, began by saying it’s time to reopen the state. “Sometimes I believe that the cure is a lot worse than the disease and I think we’ve learned a lot of lessons about what’s going on here,” Zaun said.The pandemic has caused “astronomical” financial and societal problems, according to Zaun, but Zaun defended the steps Republican Governor Kim Reynolds has taken.“She’s damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t,” Zaun said. “…She has done the best job she can…This is a learning experience for all of us. We didn’t know. We were told by all these professionals that our emergencies and our hospitals would be overloaded…It didn’t happen and it’s probably because of the decisions that the governor made.”Zaun and other state lawmakers are scheduled to restart the 2020 legislative session next Wednesday. Zaun cited estimates from national financial research firms indicating Iowa tax revenues will be about $800 million less than expected due to the pandemic’s economic hit.“Obviously, we’re going to have to cut and it’s not going to be fun,” Zaun said, “but it’s the responsible thing to do.”The audience for today’s Conservative Club meeting was far smaller than normal, about two dozen people. The club’s leader urged members to leave extra large tips for the restaurant staff to help make up for their lost wages and hours during the pandemic. read more