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Performance entertains kids of all ages

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Doug Berky rides on a unicycle Wednesday afternoon during a performance called ‘No Show’ at the Imperial Centre.

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BY SPENCER CARNEY
Telegram Correspondent

Thursday, July 12, 2018

More than 200 people — mostly kids — turned out Wednesday to be entertained by the Doug Berky Theatre at the Imperial Centre.

Braswell Memorial Library sponsored the two performances as part of its Summer Reading Program. 

Doug Berky’s performances “are an intricately woven fabric of Commedia Del Arte, physical comedy, mime, mask theatre, clowning, circus arts and storytelling,” according to his website

He performed his show, “No Show,” a comedic performance where Berky begins as a member of the audience, sitting with the kids on the floor and clapping for the show to start. The kids were very entertained by this, cheering for him that “You’re supposed to be doing the show.”

When the “actors” of the performance are a no-show, he gets up to look for them and sees all the props they brought for the act and starts messing around with everything from juggling balls to a unicycle to a variety of crazy masks, which Berky is internationally famous for making.

The kids ate it up, cheering him on when he “dropped” juggling balls and figured out how to use the unicycle.

Throughout the show, a large part of which is clowning around, Berky does a fantastic job of keeping everyone on the same level of respect — the audience never seemed to feel tricked or condescended to, and he’s never considered childish or immature. He looks like he’s having just as much fun during the performance as the kids, teasing and joking around and teaching them about some of the other, generally less well-known branches of acting.

“This is the first time I’ve ever seen something hold their attention that well for so long — especially with this many kids,” said counselor Linwood Williams of Progressive Care summer camp. The group he was with had 14 kids attending the morning performance.

The show was part of a series of children’s programs being hosted by the library. There will be crafts and a movie from 1-3 p.m. Saturday, a magic show on July 18 and several other events throughout the rest of the summer.

“The program started on June 15. It’s just to keep kids excited about reading and active during this time when there’s not a lot going on that challenges them,” said Jennifer Stearns, manager of youth services at the library.

The remaining scheduled events and times are listed on the li brary’s website at http://braswell-library.libguides.com/.

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