My faith in the importance of the humanities and arts in education was reaffirmed last Saturday after attending the 9:00 A.M. Hale Center Theater's production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in West Valley City. I entered the impressive building and did what I always do at that time of the morning, get my morning caffeine fix. The concessions were easy enough to find, but their soda options were disappointing. I ordered an large Diet Coke.
"I'm sorry Sir, but we only have once size," was the woman's response. She held up something a bit larger than a thimble.
"You've got to be kidding," I remarked. Having no other choice, I ordered their one size fits all, extra small Diet Coke. To cheer myself up, I decided to splurge and treat myself to an Almond Joy as well. I felt better.
The Hale Center Theater is a theater in the round, meaning the audience surrounds the stage in a full circle. I was lucky enough to find a ticket one row up from the stage. I sat down, enjoyed my aspartame and sugar, and took in my surroundings. The theater was modern, nicely decorated and clean. The chair was properly cushioned but needed a few extra inches of leg room. After a short wait, the lights dimmed and the music started. I sat back and dared them to entertain me. My mood quickly changed when the little brat behind me started kicking the back of my chair. I debated how to handle the problem, and settled on standing up and pouring the remaining ice from my drink onto his head. Luckily for me, his fascination with the back of my chair ended when his mother pulled him back and told him to stop kicking the back of "...that nice man's chair."
"How perceptive," I thought to myself .
The curtain went up, the adventure began. The performance was superb. The singing was spot on. The acting was professional and the props were more than believable. I looked around the room and noticed that nearly everyone was smiling. The audience was completely drawn into this story of a widower, his children and their magical flying car. The outstanding cast had succeeded in elicited an emotional reaction from an audience of all ages and all walks of life. "This is the power of the arts," I thought to myself.
Thank you Hale Center Theater for restoring my faith in the arts. The events of this school year almost had me convinced that assembly line education, with the distinct feel of a 19th century British Workhouse, was the future of education in this country. I was almost ready to surrender to the notion that the arts and humanities were permanently destined to take a minor role in the national curriculum, only to be pulled out of a teacher's carpet bag of tricks to reward children for performing adequately on their standardized tests.
Attending this performance helped me put things in perspective. My batteries were recharged. I drove home with a renewed determination to keep the Space Center philosophy alive and well. You can blend science with the arts. History, drama and music can be integrated with engineering and math. I saw it at work in the complicated technical aspects of the play.
I urge you to buy tickets to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang before the performances end on April 13. Let the staff of Hale Center Theater bring a little bit of magic into your life.
Your Science Picture of the Day
Always make the ordinary, extraordinary
If Only I could own one of these.