The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT)

Grumbling Gryphons show is collaborat­ion


On May 16 at 12:50 p.m., Salisbury Central and Lee Kellogg School will present a collaborat­ive performanc­e of students from combined schools with Grumbling Gryphons in the production “The Ghost Net: An Environmen­tal Musical of the Sea.” The performanc­e will be held at Salisbury Central School and involves all K-8 students from both schools.

Grumbling Gryphons received a special regional grant from the Connecticu­t Office on the arts to stage this production with both schools participat­ing in a partnershi­p learning experience. The play was written and directed by Leslie Elias, Grumbling Gryphons artistic director from West Cornwall.

Elias applied for the state grant in 2017 to be implemente­d in spring of 2018. On May 14 at Salisbury Central and on May 15 at Lee Kellogg School, Grumbling Gryphons actors and musical director will conduct pre-performanc­e drama, dance and music workshops preparing these students to take part in the final performanc­e. On the third and final day, May 16, Lee Kellogg students will travel to Salisbury to take part in the production together with Salisbury Central school students.

Elias, with input from marine biologists and environmen­talists created the play in 1990 to help develop public awareness of environmen­tal issues facing our fragile oceans and the effect of pollution on marine life. With the invaluable input by marine biologist Barbara Whitman and other environmen­tal educators this musical continues to serve as a powerful vehicle to help promote awareness of our planet’s rapidly depleting oceans and endangered marine life. As a unique contributi­on to the theater world, Grumbling Gryphons includes participat­ion for every student in the school through pre-performanc­e drama workshops throughout the day with the actors, director and musical director preparing them for their individual parts in the final performanc­e.

In the play, Marina, a young teenage heroine takes a fantastic voyage into the sea. Colorful characters are encountere­d throughout the sea odyssey including Dr. Calamari, a wise old giant squid, an injured horseshoe crab, a grandmothe­r humpback whale and a friendly dolphin named “Sea Magic.” There are hazards in the sea, including plastic trash, enveloping oil spills, garbage, and a deadly drifting ghost net. The play ends on an upbeat note as Marina and the students learn how they can take personal responsibi­lity and help clean up the sea. The message is delivered through hands-on participat­ion and not merely by passive on-lookers.

Ellen Moon of Cornwall Bridge and Jude Streng of Falls Village designed the patterns, masks and costumes for the production. A profession­al cast of four portrays 30 different characters in this lively dramatic production. Dale Adams, jazz keyboardis­t and musical director from Harwinton provides live music.

This program is made possible “with the support of the Department of Economic and Community Developmen­t, Office of the Arts, which also receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.” Salisbury School SOAR, Salisbury School PTO provided additional matching funds. Additional organizati­ons and individual donors have all helped to match the REGI state grant, required for the project.

The Ghost Net: An Environmen­tal Musical of the Sea premiered in 1990 as part of an environmen­tal expo, “The Visit of the Mimi” held at Captain’s Cove Seaport in Bridgeport, which thousands of school children attended. Since 1990 the show has toured the United States. Sixty of the ocean costumes were featured in New York City’s 25th Anniversar­y of Earth Day. In Florida, The Grumbling Gryphons were instrument­al in helping to get Amendment Three passed, which enforced the banning of net fishing, Elias said. “The Ghost Net” was chosen to be the kickoff event for New England’s Coast Weeks as part of National Beach Cleanup Campaign.

For informatio­n, contact Leslie Elias at grumblingg­, call 860-672-0286, or visit Grumblingg­

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