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Challenging Perceptions of Disabilities through Theater

Flutter Productions

The goal of Flutter Productions is to challenge the perception of people with disabilities through theater and contemporary dance. The company works with organizations to create original works for people of mixed abilities and ages.

This summer Flutter Productions worked with the Suzie Cappa Arts Center and Lifescape to create the theatrical dance work, “Ascent.” It tells the story of a homeless child who, with the help of a magical dragon, flies to the sun to bring light back to the trees and hope back to the town. “Ascent” was staged earlier this summer in Rapid City and Sioux Falls. The Rapid City production was filmed and it shows this evening at the Elks Theater beginning at 7:00.

Heather Pickering is Flutter Productions writer/director and she joined Dakota Midday and discussed creating mixed-ability theatrical works.

Karl was born to northeastern South Dakota crouton farmers, but was orphaned as a toddler during the Great Salad War (1966-67). Rescued by a flock of chickadees, he grew up in the woodlands of Sica Hollow. Legends of a bird boy living in the trees attracted the interest of renowned ornithologist and amateur bandoneon repairman Dr. Vogel Gehrke. With a handful of suet, Dr. Gehrke coaxed the timid boy down from the trees. He adopted him, named him Karl and taught him not to molt on the carpet. Dr. Gehrke’s book, The Bird Boy of Sica Hollow, was a best seller and Karl became a minor celebrity and teen idol. He appeared as a guest star on numerous television programs, most notably an awkward role on The Love Boat as the boyfriend of Captain Stubing’s daughter, Vicki. After critics panned his 1980 album, Bird Boy Does Disco, Karl retreated from public life and returned to Sica Hollow. Living in an isolated tree house, Karl achieved a reputation as a mystic. Pilgrims and seekers from around the world came to ask him about the meaning of life and for vinaigrette recipes. Growing tired of answering questions, he climbed down from his tree, shaved his massive white beard and took a job as the host of SDPB Radio’s Dakota Midday where he could ask the questions instead. After three years in that position, he ran out of questions and became host of Jazz Nightly instead. Karl makes his home in Vermillion with his charming wife Kari and three delightful children, Kodey, Kasey and Spatula. His hobbies include reciting the alphabet, combing his hair and doing volunteer work with delinquent songbirds.
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