The Soling Program brings ‘A Show of Puppets’ to children
The Soling Program brings ‘A Show of Puppets’ to childrenMay 18, 2004Sara Millersemortim@syr.edu
On April 28, more than 200 children from Syracuse’s Seymour Magnet School, along with after-school groups from Syracuse’s West Side including the ALAS Program, the Boys & Girls Club, the Spanish Action League’s Youth Center, Huntington and Catholic Charities, gathered in the Seymour Auditorium for “A Show of Puppets,” a production developed by 11 Syracuse University students and several Seymour School students as the final project of The Soling Program’s Creativity in the Arts and Academe course.
The course, offered during SU’s Spring 2004 semester by The Soling Program and The College of Arts and Sciences, gave SU students a chance to experience and document their creative processes through journal writing creation of puppet characters designed under the guidance of Geoffrey Navias, artistic director of the Open Hand Puppet Theater.
Throughout the semester, SU students worked with the children of the Seymour Magnet School to develop the art and script behind the April 28 show. Students created the characters and wrote original scripts for two puppet plays. They also produced a video documentary of the whole process, which was also presented on a large screen in the auditorium.
“The object of the course was also to share the experience through involvement with the community, so we chose to work with children-not just to present a puppet show for them, but to get them involved in the actual production,” says Tere Paniagua, instructor of the Soling course. “Part of the content of this workshop revolved around the concept of the inner child and the child archetype to illustrate a universal human experience, something we all have in common. Working with a group of children helped to highlight that experience. In many ways, the content of the course was based on what was drawn from inside the participants, rather than from external sources.”
According to Susan Wadley, associate dean of The College of Arts and Sciences, the course is part of a re-envisioning of the Soling Program that will lead to the appointment of a new director in 2004-05, with an emphasis on courses that continue in the tradition of working with the community while encouraging student creativity. Endowed by Chester Soling, the Soling Program seeks to stimulate creative and independent thought among students in all areas. Soling was especially interested in cultivating originality and independence of thought and judgment. A major focus of the program is on outreach to the community and problem solving.