Community

‘Creative Chaos’ knows no limitations

COTTAGE GROVE – Tonight, Creative Chaos lifts the curtain on “A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That,” a play about, well, “a little bit of this, and a little bit of that.” The performance aims to shine a spotlight on the talents of members of Cottage Grove’s community with disabilities.

“It’s a chance for them to express themselves onstage, have fun, and play,” said Creative Chaos Director Carmen Dowell. “We do whatever we can to figure out how to bring out their strengths and make sure each one of them shines in the way that they want to shine.”

The two-act play follows the group of actors on an adventure through the fantastical lives of game show hosts, starlets and breakdancers, transforming them into “anyone they want to be,” Dowell said.

“We do this because we educate people and make them laugh,” said Ian Miller, one of Creative Chaos’ performers. “And also to let everybody know we do this for them, not just for ourselves.”

Monica Venice and her puppet, Hollywood Piggy who’ll be taking the stage this weekend in the Grove.

The creative license afforded to Creative Chaos participants allows each person to set their own limits and work with what they feel is comfortable — to fend  off stage fright, some act through puppets. Others want to dance, but don’t want to dance alone, so they are joined by a team of friends.

Angela, who’ll be using her pirate puppet to interact during the show said, “I do get really terrible stage fright. But at the same time I want the people I’m closest to to know that I’m there.”

Scenes this year include a diverse range of themes based on concepts such as Transformers, tap-dancing and broadway. Each member selected their own concept and directed their own scene through an improvisation and workshopping process.

“It’s just like, once we walk through that door it changes your attitude and you just walk through here and have a good smile and be responsible for who we are. As a team,” said Jolene Richardson, one of Creative Chaos’ performers, who will be acting out one of her favorite video games, Super Mario Brothers.

The seven-actor troupe began workshopping ideas during the COVID pandemic — and have been waiting months to return to the stage.

After a challenging year, Dowell said that her friends and performers were, “her heart.”

“With creative chaos, I want people to know this is a safe place. We’re friends here. We all love each other here,” Dowell said. “All we want to do is make people happy. And I think that they all do a great job expressing that to the audience. We want people to see that they’re just more than a body. They’re real people and they want you to know more about them and what they like.”

This talented group of actors with disabilities is back with their first “post-COVID” production for only three shows. Creative Chaos members will perform “A little bit of this and a little bit of that,” this weekend at the Opal Center, on 513 E. Main St. Thursday – Saturday at 7 p.m. and a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $15 per person. For more information on joining the Creative Chaos team, contact Carmen Dowell by email at [email protected], by phone at 541-285-5475 or go online to creativechaoscg.org.