On Stage

Together, Apart

From where they are


What: From where they are

Where: Vimeo


WHEN: Whenever you want!

Cost: $5 (additional donations to the Firehouse Arts and Events Center are welcome)

Info: http://www.firehouseperformingarts.com or www.kuntzandco.org

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Although the kids who participated in Kuntz and Company’s recent virtual performance of from where they are appear to be gathered together onstage at the Firehouse Arts and Events Center, they were actually interviewed and filmed separately.

That makes sense, as the focus of the 20-minute piece explores how the youth ages 7 to 16—Bailey, Cooper, Eli, Ethan, Gemma, Hazel, Jack, Jonah, Kate, Michela, Myles, Natalie, Silas, and Sophie—have adapted to life under the continued threat of a global pandemic.

“We decided to make this piece for a few reasons,” says longtime choreographer, dancer and director choreographer Pam Kuntz, who produced the work with Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth’s executive director, Ian Bivins. “We like to make work with our community, we want to learn, we haven’t heard from children much lately, and we love the Firehouse.”

To that end, funds collected from the $5 fee to view the Firehouse Studio offering will go entirely to the intimate Fairhaven-based performance space, which remains closed to the public due to COVID-19 restrictions. Kuntz says she’s hoping people will donate more than a five-spot to help keep the venue afloat during this time of turmoil, but stresses they wanted to keep the price affordable so as many community members as possible tune in to hear what the minors have to say about how their lives have changed since March.

For the youth, adapting to a new normal has meant far less time spent with friends and extended family members, more time learning from home, and thinking about heady topics such as mortality and the wisdom of listening to scientists.

Through the magic of editing, the cast members in from where they are appear to be together in many scenes, even though they’re still far apart. As they share their fears and hopes for the future on the Firehouse stage, they play basketball, eat pie (and Oreos) and dance as they share not only what they miss—playdates, seeing their grandparents, hugging, socializing, participating in live theater and dancing with groups of people without fearing that one of them is going to get deathly ill—but they also note they’ve spent time focusing on other creative and athletic pursuits such as painting, book-making, juggling, cooking, golfing and trail-running.

While they are eager for life to return to some semblance of normality, another topic many of the kids are in agreement about is that the past seven months have been a learning experience. One teen says he and his circle of friends have been growing and changing in ways he didn’t expect, while another notes that he’s “concerned both that things won’t be the same as they were, but also that things will be the same.”

The importance of voting, working together to solve the world’s problems and being kind to each other are also messages that come through loud and clear. They are welcome during a time when the pandemic has been politicized and wearing a mask can sometimes be seen as being problematic to those who believe the coronavirus is an overblown hoax.

“We all need to try a lot harder to be educated, loving and respectful of one another,” one teen wisely summarizes, “or else things are only going to get worse from here.”

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