By Sarah Schrock
An incredible mix of pirates, Lost Boys, sea urchins, runners in spandex and exotic costumes made of old Barbie dolls and food waste converged in Twisp for a jam-packed weekend. Twisp was host to three of my most favorite events in the valley for an impressive display of art and sport.
In The Merc Playouse’s version of “Peter Pan,” as the second of Tom Zbyszewski Children’s Theater performances, the magical world of childhood comes to life through the eyes and hearts of 26 children. Perhaps it was little Olive Frady whose grin kept sneaking out of what supposed to be menacing snarl as she attempted her mean face as Skylight the pirate, or Malloch DeSalvo’s stoic face as he concentrated on dance moves as Michael, the comic relief of Kenny Hussey as the disco crocodile, or Grace Gonzales’ well-polished cackle as Captain Hook. And Wyatt Albright as Mrs. Darling! Can she really only be 12? Amazing what makeup and stage lights can do.
Whatever the charm that each performer brought to stage, the uplifting performance offered humor, suspense and wonderment as they all stole the hearts of the audience and hooked us. Forty rehearsals, dance moves, special effects and music, and sea urchins in place of Indians in Neverland — the creativity was endless down to each detail. Don’t miss the chance to see the hard work and dedication these kids and crew have put into the last four performances running Thursday through Sunday this weekend!
Saturday, hundreds of feet came racing through the hills to rest at the Doran Ranch at the finish line of Sunflower Relay/Marathon. If you have never seen the finish line of this event tucked away at the far end of Burgar Street neighborhood and off the beaten path, it’s a sight to behold. The event brings hundreds of runners from around the region to partake in what is arguably one of the most beautiful running races in the state. With the balsamroot in full display, 60-degree weather, and a cool wind, the day was perfect for the run.
Meanwhile, tucked in another corner of town not far from the finish line, friends of Christina Stout and Nate Bacon gathered at their Twisp River property for a work party to erect a Native American pit house. The family lives on their property with their young children Wendell, 4, and Suzannah, 9, who happens to a sea urchin in “Peter Pan” this week. They were inspired by the pit house at the Methow Valley Interpretive Center and a desire to inhabit an earthen shelter, or in the words of Christina, “Nate and I really like the idea of living in a clay pot.”
The Bacon family took advantage of some heavy equipment as part of a salmon restoration project on their property last year to dig out the base of the pit, which is earthen. The pit house is intended to be a communal place for sleeping, gathering and hosting friends. Friends at the work party set out to gather twigs for weaving seat walls while others stripped bark, pounded stakes, and wrapped burlap as a protective erosion barrier on the earthen walls. The process of building the structure is an honoring of the original inhabitants of the valley, and fulfills Nate and Christina’s vision of their property to have a place made of totally indigenous and natural materials that has a quality of impermanence, unlike their conventional home up the slope.
Natural and impermanent was the theme for one of the amazing outfits made of cabbage leaves, egg shells and orange peels worn by Cece Odell and designed by Autumn Jateff at this year’s Trashion show. The outfit of was one of many outrageously imaginative and wondrous creations, which included an ape-man beastly suit composed of old cassette tapes by Phoebe Hershenow and worn by her husband, Nick. A favorite at the show, the “Barbarian,” made of Barbie doll parts, trailed in the people’s choice voting a creation called the “Pack Rat,” born of old novelty jewelry — both designed by Hillary Ketcham Roseland. There are too many incredible outfits to list, but the event continues to push the envelope and each year I come away more impressed.