Wave Staff Report
CULVER CITY — “Does anyone know why we applaud?”
That is the first question that 24th Street Theatre teaching artist Linda Ravenswood asks Culver City fifth-graders.
“Live theater is over 2,500 years old,” she tells them. “It used to be in outdoor amphitheaters with dirt floors and was unsanitary. People would eat in the theatre. They would also blow their noses and throw hankies into the air to show excitement for the performance. Applauding to show approval was invented to replace the public tossing of gross hankies.”
That’s just one of many history lessons Ravenswood shares during 24th Street Theatre’s theater education program in Culver City schools. For three days, every fifth-grader gets immersed in live theater.
Visits to classrooms by Ravenswood bookend a field trip to 24th Street Theatre. During the field trip, students see how a show is made, and learn about the history, production and the craft of live theater — all in about two hours. The students also learn about empathy, race relations language arts and math.
The professional theater company 24th Street Theatre has been offering its Enter Stage Right school education program to the Culver City Unified School District for the past six years.
Enter Stage Right is an action-packed program designed to excite students and get them on the edge of their seats, all while using theater to teach the California Visual and Performing Arts Standards in math, history and language arts.
From ancient history to contemporary multimedia productions, Extra Stage Right brings the magic of theater to life through improvisation techniques, incorporating production components of sets, sound, lights and live music. From the first moments of the show, when students are welcomed to 24th Street by actor Jack Black in interactive video segments, to the final multi-layered scene developed by the students themselves, the program immerses students in the full theater experience from buying a ticket at the box office to the power of the spoken and written word.
As one of the district’s Front and Center Theatre Collaborative’s six arts partners, 24th Street Theatre is a leader in theater for young audiences, consistently influencing the field to be more adventurous, more sophisticated and more provocative. Its productions bring families together.
In that spirit, 24th Street Theatre invites all Culver City families to come and experience the magic of live theater. It is offering deeply discounted tickets to come see its current production “Ice,” a bilingual, humorous journey in search of what it means to be “American.”
The play involves a love of baseball, Tia Victoria’s salsa recipe and a talking truck as two cousins work day and night to make their taco truck the “Uncle Sam” of mobile restaurants. Will a contest to be “the most American food truck” at Dodger Stadium on the Fourth of July prove to Immigration, Naturalization and Customs that they truly belong?
The play is performed in Spanish and English with supertitles and is appropriate for ages 8 and above. Performances are Saturday and through June 24. For tickets, visit https://24thstreet.secure.force.com/ticket.