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Stories that Soar!

Citizen Staff Writer



If doughnuts and Pop-Tarts had a smackdown, who would win? How about pizza and spaghetti?

Stories that Soar, a local theater program featuring snippets of plays written by schoolkids, will answer those questions when it offers two performances at the University of Arizona on May 9 showcasing the best of its work this school year.

“When adults write about kids, it’s very different from when kids write themselves. It’s very entertaining for everyone, and it offers a great glimpse into the world of kids,” said Sharon O’Brien, artistic director for Stories that Soar.

The stories are collected over a period of several weeks at elementary and intermediate schools, then developed into plays with live actors, music and sound effects. The actors then return to the schools for assemblies featuring the submitted plays. The group has performed in 10 local schools and three in Phoenix this year.

Actors come from a variety of backgrounds and range in age from 19 to 50, O’Brien said.

Darby Blaker, who graduated in December with a UA bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing sciences, joined the group at the suggestion of a friend. She was quickly hooked, she said.

The plays are a great way to bring out kids’ feelings and thoughts, which are basically the same feelings and thoughts adults have, Blaker said.

“I think it’s every kid’s dream to see something they created brought to life,” she said.

The UA performances will offer two or three stories from each of the schools the group worked with this past year, O’Brien said.

Topics range from the serious – war and immigration – to the whimsical – a fight between spaghetti and pizza.

A reception with balloons, face painting, raffles and a silent auction to benefit Stories that Soar begins an hour before showtime.

Stories that Soar has been active for eight years. The group has a stable of about 20 actors, though only about 10 will be in the UA shows.

The food fights became part of the program after several kids submitted plays based on fights between their favorite foods, O’Brien said.

“It’s a three-round favorite food smackdown. Doughnuts and Pop-Tarts decide to be friends; it’s too hard to fight,” she said.

To find out the winner in the pizza-spaghetti matchup, head to UA on May 9.

If you go

What: “Best of Stories that Soar!”

When: 2 and 7 p.m. May 9

Where: University of Arizona Marroney Theatre, 1025 N. Olive Road.

Price: $8 for adults, $5 for kids ages 12 and younger. Available at Mrs. Tiggywinkle’s Toys, 4811 E. Grant Road; Antigone Books, 411 N. Fourth Ave. or at the door May 9.

Info: 975-9970, www.storiesthatsoar.org

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