“The Talking Stick” brings African folktales to life for children March 17-18

Audiences of all ages will learn what it means to be a true friend in CSUB’s upcoming production of “The Talking Stick,” an original play by theater faculty member Kamala Kruszka that brings African folktales to life through drumming, dancing and puppetry. The play opens to the public with five performances on March 17 and 18 inside the Arena Theatre (adjacent to the Doré Theatre) at California State University, Bakersfield, 9001 Stockdale Highway. Admission is just $5 for adults and free for children 12 and younger. The play is recommended for ages 3 and up.

“Through our productions for young audiences, I hope that local families see theatre as a viable entertainment option for not only their children but for themselves as well,” said Kruszka. “I look for plays that don’t rely only on dialog to tell the story – that require movement and action as well. I also try to find plays that children can relate to and that present them with important themes.”

“The Talking Stick” explores the themes of trust, honesty, humility and forgiveness in four traditional African tales. A cast of seven student actors utilize giant puppets to portray animals such as a lion, elephant, tortoise, monkey and hippopotamus. They also engage the audience with music and movement in the forms of African drumming and dance. The actors use the “talking stick” to guide them through each story they tell.

“The title refers to a stick found in African cultures used by storytellers,” Kruszka said. “According to my research, users believe that the talking stick has a spirit inside that brings power to the storyteller and helps the person speak the truth. Similar to Native American talking sticks, when the holder speaks, all others must listen out of respect.”

In addition to the March performances, CSUB students will take the show on a tour to local schools and day care centers during spring quarter in April and May. While the performances are already booked, Kruszka invites those interested to contact her at 661-654-6070 or kkruszka@csub.edu to be added to the notification list when the next production is scheduled.

Show times for “The Talking Stick” are at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on March 17 and at noon and 2 p.m. on March 18. Parking is free in Lots B and C. Seating is limited; reservations are recommended by calling 661-654-6070.

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Contact CSUB Public Affairs
(661) 654-2136