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MCLA Presents! to Offer 'Whos Hungry' Puppet Show

03/21/2014

NORTH ADAMS, MASS. - MCLA Presents! will offer a night of thought-provoking, experimental puppetry based on the oral histories of homeless and hungry individuals when Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' (MCLA) Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC) presents "Who's Hungry," March 29, at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. and March 30, at 3:00 p.m. in the North Adams Puppet Lab at 107 Main St.

A Bessie Award-winning professor at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), Dan Froot, has collected interviews from Santa Monica, Calif., residents to transpose real life experiences of hungry and homeless individuals into a puppet show that's presented in a banquet setting. The puppets tell their story while moving around a 24-foot long 'dinner' table.

Obie Award-winner Dan Hurlin, known for his exquisite puppet theatre, directed the show that Froot created.

"This project is about people's lives - people who, at times, happen to go without food," Froot said. "They have some truly beautiful, moving and hilarious stories that might otherwise go untold."

The artists made a goal to keep the mood light, while still educating their audience.

According to Frank Tamborella, executive director of Hunger Action Los Angeles said, "'Who's Hungry' opens up the full spectrum of the lives of homeless and hungry people - the humorous side and the triumphs large and small that make life worth living... This play goes much further to humanize the situation of poor people than dreary photos."

Froot added, "It's not about feeling sorry for anybody - each of these people is sharing their unique oral history with us, their lives - with dignity and a fair amount of humor."

"Hunger and homelessness plagues innumerable parts of the world, but this production will remind the local community of similar issues that some in the City of North Adams face on a daily basis," said Spencer Moser, coordinator of the Center for Service and Citizenship.

"Hunger and all related issues and challenges exist in North Adams, and this is evident through how many people access the resources that allow them to eat and get food," Moser said.

"It's not art for art's sake," he continued. "This is art not only with a message, but art that makes a difference and serves a societal need. It's extremely important."

Those who attend will have an opportunity to purchase photos during the evening to directly benefit the Berkshire Food Project.

Special thanks to the New England Foundation for the Arts, Wild Oats Co-Op, Porches Inn, Northern Berkshire County Coalition, the Friendship Center Food Pantry, the Berkshire Food Project, the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, the United Way, Meals on Wheels, and the City of North Adams for their support.

Tickets to "Who's Hungry" are $10 General Admission, $8 for MCLA Alumni, $5 for MCLA faculty/staff and non-MCLA students, and is free for members and MCLA students. Tickets may be reserved by calling MCLA Presents! at (413) 662-5204. For more information, (413) 664-8718, or go to~www.mcla.edu/presents .

Funded in part by the New England States Touring program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program and the six New England state arts agencies.

MCLA Presents! is a program of MCLA's Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC), a collaborative project with Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) and the City of North Adams. The BCRC provides professional development training, resources and support to the artists, art managers and creative workers of Berkshire County. Through its multiple programs and presentations, BCRC brings the best of performance and art to the Berkshires and showcases the best of the Berkshires to the world.