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Chute drama students ready to ‘rumble’

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Drama students at Evanston’s Chute Middle School are in final rehearsals for an original production, based on the popular young-adult book, Chess Rumble, by G. Neri.

Performances will be held in the Chute auditorium, at 1400 Oakton St., at 7 p.m.  on Tuesday, March 31, and Wednesday, April 1.

The story is based on the life of a 13-year-old boy named Marcus, who is struggling with anger issues following the death of his sister and the recent split between his parents.

Marcus finds himself in trouble quite often for fighting in school. When detentions cease to work, he is introduced to the after-school chess program and begins to learn the game of life through the game of chess.

Chute students read Chess Rumble last fall and had the opportunity to visit with Neri as part of the Foundation 65 Family Author program that brings a children’s author to a set of district schools.

Jenna Temkin, creative drama teacher at Chute, notes that there are a number of connections between Marcus and the conflicts that he experiences that have parallels in the lives of middle school students.

With encouragement from the author, Temkin said, Chute students set about adapting the book to the stage, including the creation of a custom set, costume design, and the incorporation of props, lighting, and sound.

Students in the Advanced Media Arts class are creating the program and show posters, and the Advanced Art class Is doing the set design.

The fine arts faculty at Chute is providing guidance and direction to the students, including Temkin as the director; Matthew Hunter as the musical director; Mariah Keko as assistant director; Cindy Adler, Advanced Arts teacher; and Sherri Kushner, Media Arts teacher.

This year marks the 90th anniversary for creative drama in Evanston, Temkin said. Performances of Chess Rumble are free and the public is welcome to attend.

Top: Chute students in rehearsal for Chess Rumble.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio stations and business-oriented magazines.

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