William Mapother

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Beware the Evil Gerbil

Posted on: May 7th, 2010 by wmapother 3 Comments

Does it count as charity or helping if it’s so much fun that you’d pay to do it?

That’s the question asked by most actors and writers who work with the LA-based Young Storytellers Foundation.  Mentors from the group guide young, at-risk students as they write a short play for six weeks, and then a number of the plays are performed by actors at a Big Show before parents and other students.  Check out the list of actors who’ve participated here.

The Foundation targets Title 1 schools with little or no arts education, and it doesn’t take a Maurice Sendak to imagine the thrill the kids get at creating a work of their own and then seeing adults perform it.

Before the show starts, all the actors line up.  Then, one by one, the mentors bring their student-writers up to the stage and the student ask the actors to play different parts.  I’m not sure I’ve ever been so excited about being cast as at Big Shows.

So a couple days ago I finally got the opportunity to participate again in a Big Show after too long off.  I was cast in almost all the plays and had these roles:  an over-adventurous baby dragon, a stern schoolyard officer, a grateful mayor, a disappearing ancient Egyptian thug, a proud dad, a bullied younger brother, and — perhaps my favorite — I narrated the tale of the evil gerbil Billy, who was nearly thwarted by the Gerbil Protection Program.

If you’re an actor or writer, try it:  It’s a ball, trust me.  And if you’re neither but love the idea, the YSF is a 501c3 non-profit organization, so your donation is tax-deductible.

Go on:  Helping others is allowed to be fun.  (And this is from someone who survived sixteen years of Catholic school.)

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Posted in Charitable Causes

3 Responses

  1. Roberta says:

    you're lovely!

    I love you!

  2. Vivian says:

    The base of a country is education,education must be top priority for all governments,so any project that encourages education,reading and creativity of the students are welcome!

    Congratulations on the initiative

  3. Angie Rampey says:

    I commend you on using your talent and time in a very positive way!!

    As a mother of 4 small children, I am always amazed at the wonderful imaginations my children have.

    I'm sure you had a wonderful time with all of those children and it will be an experience they will never forget!! 🙂

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