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March 19, 2004 - Image 40

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-03-19

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Paitiat Lut.

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2t.t. cups sugar
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each addition. Stirlogethercake rriebti, cocoa, potato starch and salt
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from page 35

that experience helped us
decide to make our theater
available to all kinds of
youngsters," Cohen
explains about the produc-
tions and environments
they have developed. "We
have interpreters for the
deaf and make sure there is
space for wheelchairs."
Wild Swan, with a
name chosen to reflect
freedom and whimsy, uses
adult performers and con-
tracts with playwrights
and songwriters for the
original shows. As a non-
profit organization, the
company earns 65 percent
Sandy Ryder and Hilary Cohen: Their troupe's
through ticket sales and
productions target young people from preschool
the rest through grants
through high school.
and donations.
An interest in diversity
ing to their own families as they man-
brings many ethnic subjects to the
aged their growing theater organization.
stage. With Judaism in the heritage
Cohen's husband, Michael, is a
of both Cohen and Ryder, they have
computer specialist, and they have
included a Jewish storyline in
- two grown daughters, Rachel, a
Coming to America, a play about
writer, and Amy, a teacher. Ryder,
immigrant children from Russia,
married to architect and builder Attila
Vietnam, the Dominican Republic
Huth, has a 12-year-old daughter,
and Lebanon.
Abby, preparing for her bat mitzvah at
"I got my start in theater at the
Temple Beth Emeth in Ann Arbor.
Jewish Community Center in Detroit,"
"I've learned that the work can
says Ryder, 50, who earned her bache-
grow in special ways when there's a
lor's degree in theater and psychology at community of artists that work
the University of Michigan and trained
together over a long time," says
with the Michael Filisky Mime Troupe
Cohen, who is from California.
and the Purple Rose Theater.
"Most of the members of our audi-
"I always loved kids stories and
ences do not have special needs, but
became part of an improv group,
because of the provisions we make,
Radical Arts Theatre, in the 1980s. As
there is a consciousness-raising
Wild Swan got organized, I began act-
aspect, and then the special needs
ing in the plays along with [produc-
become regular." 0
tions for] other companies, including
the Performance Network [in Ann
Wild Swan's production of Strega
Arbor]. As Wild Swan keeps me with
Nona and the Magic Pasta Pot
youngsters, it keeps me feeling young."
will be performed 1 p.m.
While planning their season and
Thursday, 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m..
workshops for others offering theater
Friday, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
experiences, Cohen and Ryder started
Saturday and 10:30 a.m. and
Dramatically Able, a program that gears
1 p.m. Monday, March 25-29, at
drama exercises and games to partici-
the Towsley Auditorium on the
pants facing visual, hearing, mobility
campus of Washtenaw
and developmental challenges.
Community College. $7 chil-
"I know the power of theater,"
dren/$9 adults. For tickets, call
Ryder says. "I can think of a young girl
(734) 995-0530; also may be
in a wheelchair with multiple prob-
purchased at the door starting 45
lems, and at her request, we started
minutes before curtain depend-
imagining and acting out what it
ing on availability. For more
would be like skating in the Olympics.
information on Wild Swan
For a brief time, she was leaving reali-
Theater, its productions and pro-
ty. It was like having a vacation."
grams, go to www.wildswan.ws
While assuring many make-believe
or call (734) 995-0530.
experiences for families, the two artistic
Z,V 1,7k
N 7 yk.
directors have faced the reality of attend-

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