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Actors return to childhood - The Collegian

Movement, color and large children’s toys will accompany actors on stage to celebrate life and childhood imagination as they take on David Saar’s The Yellow Boat.

The play is based on the true story of the playwright’s life and the life of his son Benjamin, who deals with health complications due to hemophilia.

Though Benjamin’s health eventually failed due to a bad blood transfusion that ultimately caused his death, the play is a celebration of his life, said guest director Brigette Marquardt.

“It’s about just the beauty of and celebration of children and their imagination,” she said.

Marquardt is a NW alumnus who has been involved in the campus’ theater off and on over the years, including acting in and choreographing other NW productions. She chose the play because she likes its message of finding “hope” in the face of “darkness.”

The play is written with children in mind but is intended for an audience of all ages, she said.

“Because some young people deal with really hard things, probably a lot them, and so, it doesn’t make sense to not have shows to kind of help them work through those things,” she said.

NW student Lane Norris plays David Saar, Benjamin’s father, and said the role has been a challenge because of some of the more serious aspects of the play.

“It’s definitely one of the more emotionally draining characters I’ve played,” Norris said.

The performance will take place in Theatre Northwest, but seating will be more limited because the seats will be on stage, he said, adding that this will create a more intimate setting for audiences.

“If one of us starts getting emotional and we starting tearing up, you’re going to be able to see that, every detail,” he said.

Westlake Academy student Megan Flight, who is in 7th grade, plays the role of Benjamin.

Flight said playing the role of a boy presents some challenges to her though she has had previous experience playing a boy having portrayed James in a production of James and the Giant Peach .

“It’s hard to not act like a girl when you grew up like one,” she said.

Years younger than the rest of the cast, Flight said the play creates the feeling of going back into childhood.

The props are oversized toys such as a boat, Rubik’s Cube and Play-Doh containers. The ensemble is also made up of college-aged cast members who have to act well below their age at times.

“We have all these teenagers playing little kids,” she said. “It’s really fun to watch how they interpret [the role].”

NW student Danielle Nafziger plays Benjamin’s mother, Sonja Saar, and said one of the biggest challenges in her role is trying to find the strength a mother has to have to keep her child from being scared and to comfort them.

“I’m sure the actual Sonja spent many nights behind closed doors crying for Benjamin,” she said. “But I wonder how often he actually saw her cry.”

The theme of loss resonates with Nafziger’s personally because her father passed away three years ago from cancer.

“Now that I’m playing this role, I’ve kind of been able to find some healing through my own grief and understanding why a parent has to be strong for their child,” she said. “That’s some personal growth I’ve found from it. It’s just a really beautiful show.”

The ensemble also adds to much of the movement that’s on stage by performing movement pieces with silks. For example, the ensemble twirls red silks during Benjamin’s hospital visits in place of having set pieces such as medical equipment.

“There are a lot plays you can go see that might be inspired by true events, but a lot of them aren’t a true story,” Nazfiger said. “And this play is as true as a story can get.”

The Yellow Boat

7:30 p.m. Nov. 14-17 and 2 p.m. Nov. 18

Theatre Northwest (WTLO 1108) on NW Campus.

Tickets are free for...


Terminally ill Port Orchard boy, 3, lives big truck dream - Kitsap Sun

Terminally ill Port Orchard boy, 3, lives big truck dream Jedi Minters, battling leukemia, had free run of city vehicles and fire engines in Port Orchard on Wednesday. Check out this story on

PORT ORCHARD — Jedi Minters, 3, clutched his father's hand wandering through a maze of police cars, dump trucks and other outsized utility vehicles. There were big boats on trailers, a lineman's bucket truck and a giant red fire engine, its ladder reaching to the sky.

Jedi clambered up into a SWAT van, petted a police search dog and was hoisted into the driver's seat of a tricked out "monster truck," its wheels almost as tall as his mom and dad.

The truck extravaganza Wednesday in a parking lot across from Port Orchard City Hall was a little boy's dream come true, even sweeter given the months Jedi has spent in hospitals undergoing treatment for leukemia. Diagnosed in April 2017, Jedi has had chemotherapy, radiation and two bone marrow transplants. His prognosis is poor.

"We have gotten the news that the leukemia is still present after many treatments of chemo and radiation. Our care team has only given my son months to live," Jason Minters, Jedi's dad, recently wrote to city officials. "Our current plan is to spoil our son with the time we have."

Utility Manager Thomas Hunter took the ball and ran with it. He started making calls. Yes, South Kitsap Fire and Rescue was on board with a ladder truck. Washington State Patrol, the Port Orchard Police Department and other law enforcement agencies stepped up.

Hunter has a 3-year-old boy among four young sons and was deeply touched by Jason Minters' email.

"I can't even imagine," Hunter said. "It really puts things into perspective about what's important, cherishing all those moments."

Word of the family's request spread fast. Safe Boats International offered one of its boats. Straight Up Racing, a monster truck group, pledged several vehicles, one of which looked like a "Paw Patrol" character.

Starbucks and The Soup Ladies, who bring food to first responders, offered free refreshments. The Port of Bremerton made its boat launch parking lot available for the growing number of trucks. Local businesses pitched in. There were T-shirts commemorating Jedi's Special Day and a fancy cake with a truck on top.

"The community just came out of the woodwork," said Hunter, who pulled together the truck-fest within six business days."There wasn't a single person that ever hesitated to help. I think that says a lot about the Port Orchard community."

The event was exclusively for Jedi and his family. The public was invited to view the trucks from behind yellow caution tape to avoid exposing Jedi to illness given his weakened immune system.

Jason and Lisa Minters gave much thought to finding a "distinctive" name for their son. Jedadiah seemed cool but a bit long. They came up with "Jedi."

"We were calling him that before he was conceived," Jason said. "He's an easy-going, carefree kid that thinks everyone is his friend."

A year-and-a-half ago, the Minters noticed Jedi had what appeared to be a rash. They ended up at Mary Bridge Hospital for tests.

"This sweet lady came in with some toys and gave us the news," Jason remembers. Jedi had acute myeloid leukemia, a cancer of blood and bone marrow.

"Through everything he’s been through, he’s been happy and really amazing as kids often are," Jason said. "They get knocked down and don’t feel good that day; they just want to nap. When they do feel good, they’re up and about."

Jedi loves anyone in scrubs. He'd cry during uncomfortable procedures but he'd always say "thank you" to the nurses and other medical staff when they were done.

In the hospital, Jedi enjoyed playing video games about...


Records published Oct. 23, 2018 - West Central Tribune

An officer responding to the call around 3:40 p.m. in the 25000 block of state Highway 23 in Paynesville Township could see a large amount of smoke. The officer found the shed engulfed in flames.

The 40-foot by 60-foot shed and all of the contents were destroyed. Items included a 1998 Lowe 1720 boat with 90-horsepower Evinrude motor, 2008 Can-Am 800 ATV, Polaris Sportsman 500 ATV, two ice augers, two fish houses, numerous fishing items, goose and duck decoys and miscellaneous power and hand tools.

It is believed a lawn mower used earlier in the day started the fire.

The Paynesville Fire Department responded to the scene and extinguished the blaze.

Fire destroys machine shed near Buffalo Lake

BUFFALO LAKE — Fire destroyed a machine shed and its contents Friday on a farm northeast of Buffalo Lake, but the owner was able to remove a John Deere Gator before the fire reached it.

The Renville County Sheriff's Office reported that a fire call was received at approximately 5:56 p.m. at the farmsite on the 88000 block of 580th Street, or about nine miles northeast of Buffalo Lake in Boon Township. An initial call from the property owner, Dana Cox, indicated that a John Deere Gator was in the building.

The machine shed was engulfed in flames when firefighters reached the site. Cox had been able to get the Gator out of the shed, but not before the fire spread to other areas.

The shed and its contents were a complete loss. The losses include a vehicle, several lawn mowers, snowblowers, tools and livestock feed.

Also responding to the scene were the Hutchinson Fire Department, Cosmos Fire Department, Litchfield Fire Department, Stewart Fire Department, Allina Ambulance Service.

Fire damages grain dryer

COSMOS — Fire caused minor damage to a grain dryer at a farmsite at 3:55 p.m. Saturday on 555th Avenue in Danielson Township, Meeker County.

The Cosmos Fire Department and Meeker County Sheriff Office responded. The dryer sustained minor damage and there were no injuries, according to the Meeker County Sheriff's Office.

Ronald Luwayne Olson, 76, was driving a 2001 Peterbilt semi eastbound on Yellow Medicine County Road 46. The truck and trailer were traveling too fast to stop for the stop sign at state Highway 67 north of state Highway 19 in Echo Township. The driver lost control, entered the ditch and rolled, according to the State Patrol.

Olson was transported by North Memorial Ambulance to Avera Marshall with non-life-threatening injuries. He was wearing a seat belt.

The Yellow Medicine County Sheriff's Office also responded.



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