Kary’s new Samaritan Theatre is an act of giving
By Laurie Merrill
GCU News Bureau
If all the world loves a clown, and if clowns are key characters in Grand Canyon University instructor Michael Kary’s new play, then it follows that audience members are sure to love “The Servant and the Fool.”
Considering that the show features alumni and students from GCU’s College of Fine Arts and Production, and that proceeds from the “Scapin”-like slapstick comedy go to help children in Madagascar, what’s not to love?
Scheduled for 7 p.m. June 30-July 1 and 2 p.m. July 2 at the Horizon High School auditorium in Scottsdale, the show marks not only the premiere of Kary’s handiwork but also the inaugural production of Kary’s new Samaritan Theatre.
By producing “The Servant and the Fool” and starting the Samaritan Theatre, Kary is heeding a call to use his work for a greater purpose.
“This semester we had a talk with our Alpha Psi Omega (campus theatre fraternity) group about being more than just performers, about using our talents and gifts to better the lives of other people instead of simply promoting ourselves,” Kary said.
In that light, Kary’s new theatre company will adopt a cause for each production and donate all the ticket sales from the show to support that cause.
A friend of Kary who visited Madagascar six years ago to see the sights — but stayed to help the children — sparked an idea: creating a theatre company that supports groups that recognize the dignity of those in need of education, food or well-being.
One such group — and the recipient of proceeds from The Servant and the Fool — is Zara Aina, which ministers to Madagascar’s street children through performance, education and medical care. The nonprofit was founded by Kary’s friend, actor Lucas Caleb Rooney, who went searching for lemurs and found a calling.
“He’s a star, and he was not fulfilled. On a safari in Madagascar, he met street children and learned their stories,” Kary said. Rooney’s organization “gives them food, housing and medication during the vulnerable ages (of 10-14 years old).”
Madagascar’s children struggle to survive in one of the world’s poorest countries despite a lack of public education, nutrition and medical care. Many lose hope or die as young as age 16, Kary said.
Kary reached out to some COFAP alumni who graduated as long ago as 1998 and asked if they were interested in producing “The Servant and the Fool” as a benefit fundraiser.
“We all knew the play and we all loved it,” said Kayana Hudson-Sweeney, a 2016 graduate who plays the servant.
“It’s a clown show, so it’s written in the style of the Marx Brothers with physical and slapstick comedy,” she said, referring to the popular 1930s comedy team.
“It’s just the twisted and winding story of everybody running from one another and crossing paths and mistaken identity,” she said. “The servant and fool are the cause of all the trouble that happens.”
It’s a fabulous role for her because she has a passion for slapstick and physical comedy.
“It’s so much fun, and slapstick is Michael Kary’s specialty,” she said. “It’s what he does, and it’s just great.”
Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased at the door of Horizon High School, 5602 E. Greenway Road, Scottsdale, or here.
Servant: Kayana Hudson-Sweeney (class of 2017)
Fool: Jason Hammon (2001)
Mr. Pants: Paul Townsend (1992)
Mrs. Gratzki: Brenna Warren (2016)
Isabelle: Devaune Bohall (2017)
Hector: Clinton Slay (2018)
Clem: Natalie Ward (2016)
Zeke: Caleb Heithoff (2016)
The officer, agent, robber and duke: Zane Wiles (2015)
Director: Michael Kary (1998)
Stage manager: Karin (Kaelin) Kary (1998)
Sound: Becky Vice (2016)
Lighting: Armani Randalph (2017)
Stage donor: Joanie Colson (1988)
Contact Laurie Merrill at (602) 639-6511 or firstname.lastname@example.org.