I Am Your Child’ performs to sellout Thibodaux crowd

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 14, 2001


PHOTO: IF YOU BELIEVE anything is possible. Tyler Roques, a Paulina Elementary student with osteogenesis imperfectus, sings a solo in the “I Am Your Child” production of the St. James Theater Company. (Staff Photo by Daniel Tyler Gooden) THIBODAUX – Childhood is a time of learning, and what is impressed on a youth will determine the man or woman they grow up to be. That is the theme of St. James Parish Theater Co.’s production “I Am Your Child,” which sold out the Thibodaux Civic Center Wednesday morning. In his dedication, writer and program director Elvis Cavalier, St. James Parish director of students programs, wrote, “If you teach me hatred I will use it. I become what I learn. If you place me in a positive light, let me bask in the sunlight of positivism where self-esteem ranks high in me, then you have molded me into a fine work of art worthy of exhibition for the world to see.” The production focused on that theme, showing what racism, disrespect, lack of caring and lack of appreciation can do and have done to the children and people of our country. The show began with a dance collaboration between Lutcher and Gramercy Elementary students to the song “Half-Breed” by Cher, which describes a life scorned by both ancestries for not quite being Indian or Caucasian. The show, filled with dance numbers, solo vocalists and descriptive acts all reminding the audience “I Am Your Child,” ran more than two hours. Scenes displayed the difference between growing up in past generations and today. The treatment of Japanese-Americans in the 1940s internment camps portrayed that the motto of our country, “All men are created equal,” has often been left by the wayside. And “Dr. Goode’s Medicine Show” portrayed the stereotypical view that has been imposed on the Gypsy culture for generations. Students from all schools in St. James Parish participated in the production, always sounding out the cry “I Am Your Child.” In one particularly poignant scene, Tyler Roques a Paulina Elementary student with osteogenesis imperfectus, a disease which makes his bones abnormally brittle, sang a solo lauding the power of one voice. He was accompanied in dance by Mya Zimmer, also of Paulina Elementary, who has cystic fibrosis. The purpose of this show was to “take childhood and make it understood to adults. It accentuates the positive but does not overlook the negatives,” said Cavalier. Cavalier hoped the audience would take with it the realization that all children have talent. “Our job as adults is to see it, accentuate and bring it to the front,” he said. Cavalier did just that in his production. The second annual St. James Theater Co. production was brought about through the help of 432 children, on stage and off. Cavalier again united his parish with the help of his students to bring an important theme of the sanctity of childhood to the whole of St. James Parish and surrounding communities. “I am Your Child” was written and produced by Cavalier. Music was composed and arranged by Robert Noonan with Cherise Soignet as choral director. Elaward Gaudet was the technical director, with Shannon Lasserre-Cortez, Yvonne Thomas, Becky Louque, Ashley Nassar and Eryn Shaw as head choreographers.