‘Wiley and the Hairy Man’ returns from Japan
By: Cheryl Kramer-Milder, Pine Journal
No words can describe the experience of being in Toyama, Japan, in a huge and beautiful theater at the opening ceremonies, with our County Seat Theater Company cast and crew sitting in the reserved seats for us in the front row when our group’s name was announced to stand and be recognized as the representatives from the United States of America at World Festival of Children’s Performing Arts. It was incredible! The tears flowed and the excitement was building. It came to mind immediately that our wish would have been to have all of our theater family and patrons there with us to experience that moment.
The World Festival of Children’s Performing Arts ran from July 31 to Aug. 5 and is held every four years. It was extremely well organized by the Japanese hosts. It must have been a monumental task.
It had been such a hard and long journey to not only make the trip to such a far-off country, but the dedication that it took to raise funds for the travel expenses and prepare the show for travel. It was certainly worth the effort, to be thrown into the company of people from all over the world who wanted to show off their talents and love of performing. We saw amazing performances of dance and plays. The cultural exchange was incredible. We have made friends from so many different countries. Communicating with them was not always easy, to say the least, but we remembered each other’s efforts on the stage which opened the conversations.
We know for sure that “Wiley and the Hairy Man” will be remembered because of its unique style. We received many, many compliments. Kirk Davis, the very recognizable Hairy Man, had his usual “rock star” status, especially among the thousands of children attending the festival. Gifts were constantly exchanged as good-will memories. Our group personally made nearly 300 red, white and blue braided charm bracelets which we placed on the arms of hundreds of children, among other personalized gifts we carried with us at all times.
At a later date that fits into an already very busy theater schedule, County Seat Theater would like to host an evening to share the fantastic memories and photos with the community. We extend a huge thank you for the support we were given to make this once in a life time opportunity become a reality.
Cheryl Kramer-Milder is the artistic director for the County Seat Theater Company.