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Plays at Dallas Theater explore history, bullying
by Adam Elrod
March 13, 2013 08:50 AM | 1497 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
From left, Triza Cox and Stephen Mercantel clown around as stars of ‘Bella Under the Bullying Bigtop.’
From left, Triza Cox and Stephen Mercantel clown around as stars of ‘Bella Under the Bullying Bigtop.’
For one day only, both a historical character and the circus will be in Dallas as Bright Star Touring Theatre presents two plays, “Harriet Tubman” and “Bella Under the Bullying Bigtop.”

The shows are set for the Dallas Theater Saturday, with the “Tubman” show at 2 p.m. and “Bella” at 5 p.m. Tickets for the shows are $6 each.

In its plays, Bright Star focuses on teaching children, said touring theater founder David Ostergaard. The Tubman play tells of how she escaped from slavery in the 19th century, and how she helped around 300 other slaves become free, according to Bright Star’s website.

“You learn everything there is to know about Harriet Tubman,” Ostergaard said.

Both productions feature two actors who play all of the characters in each 45-minute production, he said. In the “Tubman,” Triza Cox plays Tubman and Stephen Mercantel plays between 10 to 15 characters in the show.

“For me ‘Harriet Tubman’ is being able to tell the story of an American hero,” Cox said.

At the end of the show the cast asks the audience what they can do to be a hero like Tubman, she said.

The “Bella” production focuses on the problem many children have with bullying, said playwright Erin Schmidt.

“I was hoping students would start thinking of ways they could change their environment,” Schmidt said.

The play is staged at the circus to give it a fun and colorful environment, she said.

“I think it teaches kids how to deal with a bully, and how not to become a bully themselves,” Schmidt said.

The interactive show deals with a troublesome monkey who bullies the other performers instead of being their friend. Ringmaster Bella, played by Cox, tries to figure out what to do about the bullying situation, with the audience’s help, according to Bright Star’s website.

At the end of the show the cast is available to answer questions about bullying, Mercantel said.

“Several kids will ask deep, deep questions about bullying,” he said.

The family-friendly shows are for audiences of all ages.

For more information call the Dallas Theater at (770) 445-5180.

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