7 months ago


The New Lenox Patriot 041218

22 | April 12, 2018 |

22 | April 12, 2018 | The New Lenox Patriot Life & Arts Highlighting the ‘Tradition’ of musical theater at West Students to perform ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ April 13-15 Amanda Stoll, Assistant Editor As the lights illuminate the scene on “Tradition,” the opening number of the 1964 musical “Fiddler on the Roof,” the audience will find themselves looking in on a scene from 1905 Imperial Russia. Myles Mattsey, who plays the part of Tevye, is a junior at Lincoln-Way West, but has been performing on stage since he was a child. He said the hardest part about the show for him has been “trying to keep it fresh” and bring some originality to the stage with a part that has been played by many actors before him. “So many people have done this,” Mattsey said. “And so many wonderful actors have been in the same position I’m in, in so many different ways and at so many different times.” The show is about Tevye and his family, who are part of a Jewish minority in the country, and their struggles with religion, tradition, marriage, love and political oppression. Playing the part of Golde, Tevey’s wife, is Lincoln- Way West senior Julia Tolbert, who said the cast, which is broken up into families, has developed those relationships both on and off stage. “We definitely do a lot of stuff outside of school to build a really good relationship,” Tolbert said. “I knew everyone in my family before and now getting to know them even better is making what we perform on stage so much more real. It really helps our performance.” Her part is that of a mother and a wife, which is something many in the audience will relate to, but it is obviously something Tolbert has no personal experience with. She said she has put a lot of effort into putting herself in that position and mindset to better connect with the audience. Tolbert said theater has given her a foundation for communication that she will use far past graduation this spring. “It gets you prepared for life dealing with so many different types of people and being able to work together as a group and understanding that everyone has a part to play,” Tolbert said. “Being a lead role is a part of it, but it’s not the whole thing. “Community is not just one person, it’s a group, and we have to help each other in order to be strong.” Leading that group again this year is director Marta Koonce, who is still new to West as a second-year director, but Koonce is no stranger to theater, with decades of experience under her belt. She said the nature of the show has allowed students to be more creative on stage with their characters, and even the ensemble members have had a chance to create their own personalities in scenes where improve is sprinkled in with the script. The show tackles some big issues and a history few remember, and Koonce said that has been a difficulty for the students to truly portray their characters. “Even if they did their homework, they couldn’t possibly imagine what it would have been like at that time of history when you could lose everything just because of who you were Fiddler on the Roof Lincoln-Way West 21701 Gougar Road in New Lenox Show times: 7 p.m. Friday, April 13 7 p.m. Saturday, April 14 3 p.m. Sunday, April 15 Cost: $10 Tickets: www.lwwmusic. org Myles Mattsey, playing the part of Tevye in Lincoln-Way West’s production of “Fiddler on the Roof,” sings “If I Were a Rich Man.”. Photos by Amanda Stoll/22nd century media Tevye’s daughters, played by (clockwise from left) Abigail Sutter, Megan Perkne, Jessa Simon, Hannah Barger and Jori Simon rehearse “Matchmaker” on April 3. and what you believe in,” Koonce said. Even so, Koonce said she is happy with how hard the students have worked and how the show has turned out and said they have received a lot of help from parents who have helped out with things like set building. To keep the scenes looking natural and organic, choreographer Lisa Wainwright said she has tried to work with the students and their varying levels of experience. “Most of my choreography for the show is organic and culturally derived meaning it might come from a folk-type, movement base,” said Wainwright, who said she also used elements of ballet in some sections. She said she sometimes moves quickly when teaching choreography, which was challenging for the students, but she pushes them to produce a “high caliber” performance. “They can do it,” Wainwright said. “I think they do it extremely well.” The show has a large cast, which can be challenging to rally, but the on stage payoff is worth it. “I think it’s a huge praise to Lincoln-Way West and it’s leadership in making the kids feel comfortable in some aspect of life,” Wainwright said. She said the department welcomes newcomers whether they are freshman or seniors, and those who may not feel comfortable or be interested in taking to the stage are encouraged to be involved with the pit orchestra or tech crew. “Sometimes this pushes people out of their comfort zone, and I think that’s why, if they do get into theater, they love it so much because they grow so much from it,” Wainwright said. “They find out who they are, and what they can do and what they’re capable of doing.” Life & Arts the New Lenox Patriot | April 12, 2018 | 23 ‘Every 21 Seconds’ to make public debut T.J. Kremer III, Contributing Editor On Friday, April 13, “Every 21 Seconds,” the film based on Lincoln-Way Central alum Brian Sweeney’s struggle with traumatic brain injury, will make its public debut at Emagine Theatre in Frankfort. The film previously had been screened by a private audience in January. “Every 21 Seconds” follows Sweeney’s life after he was viciously attacked outside of a bar in Wisconsin in 1992. The attack left Sweeney with a traumatic brain injury. Since then, Sweeney has been on a mission to share his story in the hopes that it will raise awareness and spur action for the approximately 2 million people per year who are diagnosed with and suffer from a TBI. “I spent the first five years trying to convince people that there was nothing wrong with me, and every day since trying to get people to understand what the challenges are for folks who go through this, what some of the deficits might be,” Sweeney said in an interview with The Patriot back in January. “But, also, what you can do, not what you can’t do. I always say focus on the capabilities, not the disabilities. “I wanted to be the voice that gave these people a voice.” The movie is based on Sweeney’s book of the same name. The film was recently nominated for several awards — including Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role and Best Ensemble — by Festigious, a monthly online film festival. RIGHT: Lincoln-Way Central alum Brian Sweeney (left), who wrote the book “Every 21 Seconds,” based on his struggles with a traumatic brain injury, poses with Shannon Brown, who plays Sweeney in the movie with the same title. The film opens for to the public Friday, April 13, at Emagine in Frankfort. 22nd Century Media file photo Weathering the Storm Severe weather preparedness Mark T. Carroll Contributing Columnist Plan, practice, monitor and act One week each year is selected as Severe Weather Preparedness Week. Severe weather preparedness week in Illinois this year was March 4-10. Preparing for severe weather should not be limited to one week each year. There is no time like the present to plan and prepare for potential severe weather events. Below is a framework and suggestions for preparing your family and business for severe weather. Ensure that you have weather safety procedures at home, work, school, on the road and anywhere else that may be impacted by severe weather. Decision makers and overseers of large groups of people should review preparedness plans and ensure they have a means to monitor the weather and shelter individuals, if severe weather threatens. The preparedness framework for severe weather is “Plan, Practice, Monitor and Act.” Plan at home, work, school and for outdoor activities. Identify safe areas, have a disaster kit and know how to stay weather aware. Practice! Practice! Practice! Know your plan, and practice it often. Monitor the weather. There are multiple ways to receive weather warnings, which include but are not limited to television, radio, NOAA Weather Radio, notification on your cellphone, phone aps, etc. Activate your plan when severe weather threatens. Three basic things that should be known by the occupants of every home or business are as follows. 1. Where to go if severe weather threatens. Find a safe interior room, preferably on the lowest level of the building, and let everyone know that’s where they should go during severe weather. 2. How to get in touch (communicate). Know how to reach one another after a disaster strikes. 3. Choose a “Meet Up Spot.” Have a standard meeting spot after the severe weather has passed that everyone knows. This will help determine if anyone is missing. Severe storms in Illinois are most probably in spring and summer (April through June) but can happen any time of year. The most probable time of day for tornadoes is 3-10 p.m. but can occur at any time. Tornado safety At home: Go to the basement and under a stairwell or heavy piece of furniture. If your home does not have a basement, go to an interior closet, hall or bathroom on the lowest floor, away from windows. Put as many walls between you and the outside as possible. At schools, hospitals and office buildings: Go to small interior rooms or interior halls on the lowest floors. Avoid long corridors with windows and large open areas with free span roofs, such as gymnasiums. At shopping centers: Go to bathrooms and small interior spaces, and avoid large open areas and glass. In a mobile home: Abandon the mobile home and vehicles for a nearby enforced building. Lie flat in a ditch as a last resort. In a vehicle: Do not seek shelter under an overpass or attempt to outrun a tornado in your vehicle. Lightning safety Reports say 64 percent of lightning fatalities happen during outdoor activities, namely boating, swimming and other sports. If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you. Lightning can strike up to 20 miles from a cloud. If you see lightning and hear the thunder less than 5 seconds later, the lightning was less than one mile away. Seek shelter indoors when storms approach; there is no safe spot outdoors during a thunderstorm. A closed, hard-top metal vehicle is safe in a storm. March weather review The weather in March was fairly quiet, with slightly below-normal temperatures, below-normal snowfall and below-normal precipitation. A minor snow event occurred March 13 with New Lenox reporting 1.5 inches of snow and Lockport 1 inch. A major snow event missed our area to the south March 24, with portions of Central Illinois receiving nearly a foot of snow and no snow being reported in our area. For the winter season, through the end of March, our seasonal snow total was roughly 2 inches below normal. The weather for April and beyond The forecast from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction calls for near-normal temperatures and near-normal precipitation for April. NCEP also is predicting above-normal temperatures and abovenormal precipitation for May and June. Mark T. Carroll is the president of CALM Weather LLC, a meteorological consulting service based in Oak Forest. For more information, visit