‘Awakening Earth’ Comes To Payson

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Photo courtesy of Gerri Levine

As cast members look on, Diana Vincent of Payson, portraying Mother Earth, asks for a divine blessing in the “Ave Maria” number in the Maya Joy Dancers production of their eco-play “Awakening Earth.”

“Awakening Earth,” the eco-play by the Maya Joy Dancers that was a big attraction at the Pine Earth Expo this summer, is coming to Payson.

At the invitation of Art Russo, president of the Payson Center for Spiritual Awareness, there will be two performances of the play at the PCSA, at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 23.

“I know there were a lot of people in town who were interested in it, but missed seeing it in Pine,” says Russo. “We also thought it carries a wonderful message for kids to experience.”

The hour-long performance is presented entirely in pantomime, music, and dance, with a narrator explaining environmental facts. More narration has been added to the Payson performances to make it clearer for children.

According to the company’s head choreographer, Su von Mazo of Strawberry, who conceived the program, “Our goal is to show the plight of the earth today — the environmental problems that confront us — but to be positive about it. “So, although the first part of the play shows how we pollute the earth,” continues Von Mazo, “we quickly transition to a message of hope and joy.

“We show how the young people of the planet will convince us to clean up the earth, and how the natural cycles of the earth will be restored to harmony and balance.

“So most of the play is actually about the joy and wonder we feel at the earth’s ‘awakening,’ and how beautiful the earth is then.”

Von Mazo, who portrays the Water Goddess in the play and has had an extensive background in dance (she currently teaches belly dance classes at the East-West Exchange in Payson), explains, “We thought the metaphor of dance and music could best express that joy and wonder.”

Two young girls from Payson, Grace Stacklie and Autumn Bailey, express various roles as attendant fairies, spirits of innocence and village girls. Blue Owl, Nancy Kane and Nick Berezenko of Pine are the polluters in the early part of the play. And playing the two-faced “BP” character, which drills for oil and pollutes the earth, is the marvelously sardonic Paul Owens of Pine.

Show times for the Payson performances are 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 23 at the Payson Center for Spiritual Awareness, which is a nonprofit spiritual center located at 107 W. Wade Lane, Suite 2, just off Highway 87 in Payson.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $2 for kids 14 and under.

For information or to purchase tickets in advance, contact Art Russo at (928) 951-5376.

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