Thunder Ridge High School drama program opens new play this week

Arts & Entertainment

IDAHO FALLS — Thunder Ridge High School in Idaho Falls invites you to join them this week as the Thunder Ridge Drama Department stages its latest production.

The play, “The Yellow Boat,” is based on the true story of Benjamin Saar. Benjamin was born with congenital hemophilia and contracted HIV from a blood transfusion. He used his gift for creating visual arts to deal with his struggles and express feelings he didn’t know how to express otherwise.

“The Yellow Boat” is a powerful story about the creativity, strength and courage of children. (Click here for tickets.)

“This show is from Benjamin’s point of view,” Thunder Ridge Drama director Jorden Cammack told EastIdahoNews.com. “Any time he has to deal with something that’s hard or he has to deal with the pain of a transfusion or working through telling the doctors what’s wrong, he does so through drawing and coloring. The show celebrates the imagination and creativity of childhood, as well as Benjamin’s ability to overcome.”

The play uses color and movement to visualize Benjamin’s story. Cammack said these artistic elements drew her to want to produce the play.

“I was always drawn to the abstract nature of the show,” she said. “It’s very fluid in its movements and transitions, and it’s very based on imagination. There’s not really a solid set. They do a lot with blocks and fabrics and movement. It’s very abstract and different from other shows we’ve done, and I wanted to try something different.”

“‘The Yellow Boat’ deals a lot with self-expression as a way of articulating feelings and coping,” Kinley Friess, Cammack’s student assistant director, added. “One thing that happens is that Benjamin is unsure what to tell the doctors when he’s in pain, so he does that through color and saying ‘I feel red’ or ‘I feel blue’ or things like that. I think that’s an interesting way to express yourself because it can be difficult to put feelings into words, especially for children.”

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Photo by Clay Cammack. Courtesy Jorden Cammack

To visualize what goes on in Benjamin’s imagination, the show’s crew got resourceful.

“Visually, we’ve got a lot of different fabrics that we’ve used,” said Friess. “They’re cut up into a lot of different shapes and sizes. There are some tablecloths that we have hanging from the ceiling. I think the best method we used to represent the color is through the lighting. I helped in designing the lighting and we have an amazing lighting technician and the use of color and all very varying depths of light are incredible.”

While “The Yellow Boat” deal with some very heavy themes, it’s ultimately a story filled with joyful, hopeful moments, and it expresses emotional experiences that everyone deals with from time to time.

“I think from an audience perspective, every single person watching is able to connect with this show, in one way or another,” Friess said. “I think it’s really good for letting people know that you’re not alone in experiencing this. It’s letting you know that people can relate to you, and you can turn to people with similar experiences.”

Thunder Ridge Drama’s production of “The Yellow Boat” is scheduled for this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, January 26, 27 and 28 at 7 p.m. at Thunder Ridge High School in Idaho Falls. Click here for tickets.

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Photo by Clay Cammack. Courtesy Jorden Cammack.

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