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PAWTUCKET â€” Thanks to a $2,500 legislative grant, Mixed Magic Theatre will be able to embark on one of its favorite journeys: bringing the timeless tale of â€śMoby Dickâ€ť to new audiences in a unique and modern way.
On Thursday, state Sen. Donna M. Nesselbush (D-Dist. 15) presented a check to Mixed Magic Theatre, a non-profit arts organization based in the historic mill complex at the Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket.
â€śI am pleased and proud to be able to support the good work of Mixed Magic Theatre,â€ť said Nesselbush. â€śTheir diverse group presents the arts with an inter-generational, multi-ethnic approach to fulfill their mission of building more literate and arts-active communities.â€ť
Since its founding in 2000, Mixed Magic Theatre has strived to bring diverse stories and images to the stage through prose and song, well-known drama and original productions.
The Moby Dick project, called, â€śMoby Dick: Then and Now,â€ť is part of this mission, and Mixed Magic founder Ricardo Pitts-Wiley said the legislative grant will help fund the re-mounting of the highly acclaimed production that last ran five years ago at the theatre's former downtown home.
The past Mixed Magic Theatre production of â€śMoby Dick: Then and Nowâ€ť has become the centerpiece of a national teachers' study guide involving new media literacy, said Pitts-Wiley, who co-founded the theatre with his wife, Bernadet.
The Pawtucket-based play is featured prominently in a newly released book, â€śProject New Media Literacies Teachers' Strategy Guide: Reading in a Participatory Culture.â€ť
â€śIn conjunction with the full release of this book, we thought it was timely to re-mount the show,â€ť Pitts-Wiley explained. â€śPlus, we're also at the vanguard of a whole new interest in Moby Dick,â€ť he said. â€śWe think it's an important piece. And, it attracts more students to theatre.â€ť
The new production of â€śMoby Dick: Then and Nowâ€ť is scheduled to begin March 1 and run through March 31 at Mixed Magic's new location at 999 Main St. It will be directed by Jonathan Pitts-Wiley, the son of Ricardo and Bernadet.
The younger Pitts-Wiley has also taken over the reins from his father as Mixed Magic's artistic director.
According to its website description, â€śMoby Dick: Then and Nowâ€ť is a â€śpage-to-stageâ€ť adaptation of the classic novel combining the original text with a modern tale of obsession, vengeance, and the realities of big business on the American landscape.
The cast will feature a number of young people selected from schools in the Blackstone Valley, Pitts-Wiley added.
Pitts-Wiley said that a total of $9,500 will have to be raised to support the production, but the $2,500 legislative grant is a welcome starter. â€śWe really appreciate the support of Senator Nesselbush on this,â€ť he stated.
For more information, visit the Mixed Magic website at www.mmtri.com.