I can read in red.
I can read in blue.
I can read in pickle color, too.
-- Dr. Seuss, from I Can Read with My Eyes Shut!
This one's a real no-brainer. When you consider how many children have learned to read with help from the Cat in the Hat and Sam-I-Am, the National Education Association's annual Read Across America event couldn't possibly take place on any day other than Dr. Seuss's birthday. Ted Geisel's magic always was, and still is, a practical kind of sorcery, so calculated to entertain and surprise kids into reading that they never even know what kind of scientifically formulated, easy-to-read vocabulary is helping them do it.
But this year's event is something really special. It's the late Geisel's Seussentennial, and the parties, which are glopping up the town like an oobleck storm, include a spate of library-sponsored celebrations. The Denver Public Library salutes Seuss with an after-school program called "Hats Off to Dr. Seuss: A Birthday Bash" that features games and refreshments at 4 p.m. today at the Ross-Barnum Library, 3570 West First Avenue (303-935-1891), and tomorrow at the Athmar Park branch, 1055 Tejon Street (303-935-0721). More Seussentennial fun -- face-painting, balloon animals, bilingual readings, photo ops with the Cat in the Hat, birthday cake and a Dr. Seuss Readers Theater -- is scheduled throughout the day at the Aurora Central Library, 14949 East Alameda Drive, Aurora (303-739-6598), and various Douglas County libraries will join in with storytimes and parties (log on to www.douglascountylibraries.org for details). For more on Read Across America, go to www.nea.org/readacross. -- Susan Froyd
Playwrights Project beckons young Shakespeares
Leave it to Chip Walton and his Curious Theatre Company to do something different. When Walton was approached by a foundation to draft a youth-education outreach program, he didn't come up with another acting class. Instead, he proposed what has become the Curious New Voices: Young Playwrights Project, a juried two-week workshop with local and national professionals for writers ages twelve to 21, culminating in staged readings of the students' works. Walton got the idea while traveling across the country on a grant to observe troupes similar to Curious in action; he was lucky enough to visit Atlanta's Horizon Theatre Company while it was hosting a similar program. "It was a really wonderful experience to watch young writers hear their work read for the first time by professional actors," Walton says. "I was sitting next to a thirteen-year-old while his play was being read, and it was like watching a flower bloom." That's precisely what he hopes to replicate here: "The potential for this to be a life-changing experience is very real."
Hopeful young playwrights can submit short plays for consideration through April 1; call 303-623-2349, ext. 7, or write to [email protected]. -- Susan Froyd