Up & Coming Weekly

May 21, 2019

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 13 of 32

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM MAY 22-28, 2019 UCW 13 Rick's Place is operated by the Rick Herrema Foundation to support family bonding and reintegration between deployments. Photo credit: LRP Media Rick's Place hosts Work Day, summer camps for military families by ALLEGRA JORDAN EVENT is June, Rick's Place will host a volunteer "Work Day" and start kids' summer day camps to teach essential sur- vival skills. Rick's Place is a 50-acre reintegration park in Fayetteville for military families and contractors. Founded in 2014 by military families for soldiers and their families, the park provides fun, quality activities to help strengthen relationships around the deployment cycle. Rick's Place's Work Day will be held June 8 from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Work Day provides meaningful volunteer activities for teams and families to help build the park. Typical activi- ties include carpentry, gardening, ditch-clearing and park beautification. A community meal is provided free of charge to all who register online by the deadline of June 3. e Rick's Place staff asks that volunteers register for the event so that they prepare the right number of projects. To find the event online and register, search "June Work Day" on Eventbrite.com, with Fayetteville set as the location. Parents must supervise their kids. Rick's Place encour- ages parents and kids to work side-by-side to help build a park that is, in turn, a place that families can go to have fun and to relax. Starting June 10, Rick's Place hosts day camps for kids ages 8-14. is summer, a limited number of scholarships for military children are available courtesy of the Fayetteville Woodpecker's Community Leaders Program. e day camp is called the Super Fun Quality Camp or SF Q-Camp, a play on the Special Forces Qualification Course, also known as e Q-Course. SFQC teaches kids skills that blend the best of living in nature with appreciation of key military survival skills such as land navigation, fire building, knot tying, and animal and plant threat identification. e camp also provides opportunities to let off steam with paintball battles, foam machine play and old-fashioned tale-telling. One 23-year Army veteran and father of five said, "Rick's Place provides my family with an environment where we can work together, play together and just be to- gether, in a beautiful outdoor setting, no strings attached. It's a place to unwind and disconnect from the pressures of everyday life, while forging bonds with other military families — and the community that supports us — that can sustain life long after we've left the grounds. "I love the look on my kids' faces when they pile out of the minivan and see the latest addition to the recreational scene at Rick's Place: the trampoline in the trees, zip line, Nerf-gun battleground — there's always a moment when they look back and me as if to say, 'Dad, are you sure I'm al- lowed to do this?' e answer, at Rick's Place, is always yes." Rick's Place is operated by the Rick Herrema Founda- tion to support family bonding and reintegration between deployments. e park is located at 5572 Shenandoah Drive, Fayetteville. For more information about Work Day or day camps, visit rhfnow.org/events, email info@rhfnow.org, call the Rick's Place team at 910-444-1743 or come for a visit. e park is open dawn to dusk every day to support war stress reduction for military families and contractors. Gilbert Theater presents 'The Laramie Project' by ELIZABETH BLEVINS "e Laramie Project" opens May 30 at Gil- bert eater on Green Street. It tells the story of Matthew Shepard, a gay college student at the University of Wyoming. He was beaten and left for dead by two men in October 1998. Days later, he died from his injuries. "e Laramie Project," written by members of the New York-based Tectonic eater Proj- ect and originally produced in 2000, is about the aftermath of Matthew's death and the community's reactions. Known as "verbatim theater," the play and dialogue were culled from hundreds of interviews conducted by the Tectonic eater Group members during their visit to Laramie, Wyoming. Larry Carlisle directs the production at Gilbert eater. "'e Laramie Project' is decidedly different from other productions in that the emphasis is on the characters and their monologues and not on sets or props," Carlisle said. Carlisle takes a minimalist approach to directing his cast, preferring to let them interpret the characters. "I always say an actor's job is to make the show look good — my job is to make the actors look good." Each member of the cast plays as many as 10 dif- ferent characters, and some of them are drastically different. e emotional range necessary to bounce back and forth is astounding, but the cast takes it all in stride. Deannah Robinson plays five char- acters. "It's a bit of a challenge, and it's definitely a learning experience, but it's something I'll take with me," she said. James Merkle plays Matt Galloway, the bartender and the last person to see Shepard before the at- tack. He's guilt-ridden for having not seen what was about to happen. But Merkle also plays Aaron McKinney, one of the two men who killed Shepard. "We have to come up with different ways of creat- ing the characters so they don't sound the same. It can be challenging, but also fun," said Galloway. Chris Walker plays both Dennis Shepard, Mat- thew's father, and Rev. Fred Phelps. Phelps was the head of the notorious Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. His parishioners, made up almost entirely of his family members, gained na- tional attention for protesting at the funerals of gay people. Merkle, who spoke with a palpable rever- ence for Shepard, said: "You're seeing two spectrums — those that were horrified by what happened and those who were defend- ing the attackers." He also feels the play is especially timely in respect to current political situations. "I find it very relevant today of what's going on out there," he said. "It almost seems like we're heading back to that moment. If we don't learn from the past, we're doomed to repeat it. But there's also a sign of hope — hope that we can move past this." While Shepard has become the face of the movement against hate crimes, "e Laramie Project" has become the proverbial mirror in society's face. It continues to reflect the many reactions to the LGBTQ community and the dangers its members face. "e Laramie Project" opens May 30. Performanc- es are at 8 p.m. May 30 – June 1 and Jun 5 -8. Matinee performances are at 2 p.m. June 1-2 and June 8-9. Visit www.gilberttheater.com to purchase tickets. ELIZABETH BLEVINS, Up & Coming Weekly Correspondent and founder of HopeMills.net. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcomingweekly.com. 910-484-6200. ALLEGRA JORDAN, Rick's Place Executive Director. COMMENTS? Editor@ upandcomingweekly.com. 910-484-6200. Matthew Shepard, a gay college student at the University of Wyoming, was beaten and left to die in 1998. "e Laramie Project" is about the aftermath of Matthew's death and the community's reactions. Photo of Shepard via Matthew Shepard Foundation

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