BENTON - Area schoolchildren and residents will get a chance to look at Hamlet and Vincent Van Gogh in a different way this week as Sikeston, Missouri Arts presents F. Reed Brown.
"He's like an educational performer," said Terri Matthews, administrator for SMARTS. "We are always looking for different, more diverse ways of bringing arts and culture to the community."
Brown is an actor, director, choreographer and a co-founder of the Ozarks Actors Theatre, a professional summer stock theater. "I found out about him through the Missouri Arts Council," said Matthews.
Matthews said bringing Brown to Sikeston demonstrates SMARTS commitment to not only visual arts, but also the performing arts as they strive to present a "well rounded" schedule. "SMARTS believes that every community is a better place to live when the arts are alive and vibrant," she said.
Brown begins today at the Albritton theater by presenting "Green Eggs and Hamlet" for eighth and ninth grade college prep students from the Sikeston Junior High School.
"That is Dr. Seuss telling the story of Hamlet," Matthews explained, adding the play is being studied this year by the students.
Senior drama and English classes from the Sikeston High School are scheduled for a "Green Eggs and Hamlet" program at 7 p.m. night along with a 20 minute workshop following the performance.
Friday, Brown will be at New Madrid County Central High School from 10-10:45 a.m. for a production and workshop for 70 Middle School honor choir and art students. A performance and workshop for the NMCC High School's music appreciation and drama classes will follow.
After lunch, Brown will have a performance workshop for the Singing Eagles, the high school chorus and musical theater class before heading to the St. Francis Catholic School for a 2 p.m. performance.
Brown's visit culminates Saturday when the public is invited to attend a performance of "Vincent" scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Albritton Mayer Center. Tickets are $5 and may be purchased at the door until sold out.
Written and originally performed off-Broadway by Leonard Nimoy of "Star Trek" fame, "Vincent" is about Vincent Van Gogh, a 19th-century Impressionist painter as famous for cutting of an ear and sending it to his lover as his paintings.
Brown portrays both Van Gogh and the artist's brother, Theo Van Gogh.
"This is a dramatic performance told by Vincent Van Gogh's brother, Theo," Matthews said, adding that Theo Van Gogh was a big supporter of his artist brother, monetarily and as a motivator. "Without his brother Theo, there wouldn't have been a Vincent Van Gogh."
Brown's resemblance to the artist is striking, Matthews said. "He literally transforms himself into Vincent Van Gogh."
Matthews said bringing Brown here involved not only the efforts of SMARTS, but also that of the Sikeston Little Theatre group and the Bootheel Regional Art Guild. Matthews said as all the groups have common roots in Sikeston, Missouri Arts, it is "nice to have us all working together again."
For more information call the SMARTS office at 471-3888.