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Jul-21-2010 19:25printcomments

Salem Puppet Theatre Project- Still Shrouded in Secrecy

The premise: entertainment induces empathy far more than adult lectures and endless sermons on what path our youth take in their own self-interest.

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(SALEM, Ore.) - A highly innovative approach to use handpuppets as a hands-on learning tool remains wrapped up in mystery, at least for the moment. The principles involved are several Salem-based social agencies hoping to involve teens and pre-teens.

This reporter has been able to glean a few pieces of that intriguing puzzle. Here is the scoop for the curious public.

  • Teens with creative writing skills will be sought to do scriptwriting.

  • Possible themes may include bullying, child abuse, environmental concerns, obesity, and teen pregnancy;

  • Senior citizens may engage in the woodwork of puppetmaking;

  • Social agency staff may serve as script advisors.

While no defined timeline has been established, a late fall initial performance is being considered. Salem may well be the pioneer in mingling socially relevant messages with the art of puppetry geared to an adolescent audience.

The premise: entertainment induces empathy far more than adult lectures and endless sermons on what path our youth take in their own self-interest.

=========================================== Community Writer Barry Lee Coyne brings to our readers stories from his combined career of journalism and gerontology, and explains that these paths shaped his values. Lee Coyne once worked for The Civil Service Leader in NY State and covered the Legislature. He has also done features on mediation and arbitration, and believes in healthy skepticism. This writer-therapist often views the world as the masks of comedy and tragedy placed upon the scales of justice. For him, optimism inevitably wins. "Lyrical Lee" has traveled to 30 nations aboard and was once a press intern at the UN. His first published article was in The NY Daily News in '59, dealing with the need for integrity in public office.

He also launched the nation's first tele-conference on health education for shut-ins, created the Eldermentors project in VA to pair retirees with immigrant students needing role models, and was the main catalyst behind CCTV's "Public Public" panel show here in Salem. Lee received his BA in International Relations and an MSW in community organization. He currently serves as a member of Salem's Library Advisory Board. To send Lee an email, please write to this address:

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