Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

May 6, 2013

Chautauqua sees star-studded finish

Tess Rowing
Greensburg Daily News

Greensburg — After a long day of presentations, Greensburg Community High School’s Chautauqua, spear-headed by history teacher John Pratt, finished with some performances and a question and answer panel.

After showing the first half of A Trip to the Moon, by George Melies (1902), North Decatur High School graduate Charles Adams' original play was performed by a star-studded cast.

Following the performance, Joyce Vincent Wilson, from the 1970s group Tony Orlando and Dawn, performed Baby Love (The Supremes), I’ll Never Love This Way Again (Dionne Warwick) and a number of other songs.

After the short concert, the audience was welcomed to ask the performers questions.

The panel included Emily Kuroda (The Gilmore Girls, Grey's Anatomy), Takayo Fischer (Pirates of the Caribbean 3), Jeanne Sakata (L.A. Law, ER, Desperate Housewives), Joyce Vincent Wilson (Tony Orlando and Dawn), Vincent M. Ward (The Walking Dead, Ocean’s Eleven), Yano Anaya (A Christmas Story), Pauline Melies (great-great granddaughter of French filmmaker, George Melies), and Karolyn Grimes (It’s a Wonderful Life).

Much of the advice offered by the panel included to “stay true to yourself,” and to “be good to yourself, because there are plenty of people who want to put you down,” as said by Takayo Fischer.

The panel also shared their experiences in racial profiling, and the challenges as actors their ethnicity presented. Fischer was put into a Japanese internment camp during World War II, and said one of her earliest memories is of her two pet dogs being poisoned.

Sakata expressed frustration at the lack of roles for Asian-Americans due to stereotyping in writing. She shared that a production of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Nightingale,” which takes place in ancient China had nearly no Asian actors. The producer’s excuse, said Sakata, was that The Nightingale takes place in a “fantasy China,” despite containing references to actual history.

Vincent Ward said his biggest racial challenge as an actor is that he is six feet, four inches tall, black and bald, and there are not many roles outside of bouncers and prison inmates for his physical build. He said he plans on no longer accepting roles which cast him in such a negative light.

After the question and answer panel, the performers went into the high school’s entrance lobby to sign autographs and take pictures.

Greensburg Community Schools Superintendant, Tom Hunter, congratulated history teacher Pratt on another job well done. Hunter said that the whole program had flowed extremely well, and that all of this year’s Chautauqua events have related to each other.

Contact: Tess Rowing 812-663-3111, x7004