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Loren Churchill creates 'El Zocalo'

"If Langley were a Mexican village, the Zocalo would be its center, the heart of its community.Here on South Whidbey in the U.S., El Zocalo becomes a metaphor, a symbol of the life journey of a young man named Seth Raabe, revolving around the issues of social and peer pressures, experimentation with drugs and the struggle for creative expression, as writer Drew Kampion describes it.Raabe, a June graduate of South Whidbey High School, turned to local performance artist Loren Churchill to help create a theater event centering on the lessons Raabe learned in his first 18 years. The result is El Zocalo, taking place on Friday, June 23, beginning at 8 p.m. at Bayview Hall. Admission is free, and refreshments will be available.It's an evening of drama, interpretive dance, painting, music and community dialogue, followed by dancing to music by the funk and jazz group 2 Coast Jazz, Timothy Hull's political folk and the music of hip hop and rap DJ Brian Moote, another SWHS grad.The story was inspired, Raabe said, by his own experiences.I had a friend die when I was 15, Raabe said. She was an island girl, and she died at 16 of a heroin overdose. Then ... my own struggle with drugs and that whole world. Other friends, still struggling, inspired him to tell his story and what he'd come to. And that, Raabe said, is, Don't take life for granted. And don't take what others tell you as necessarily being the truth. Remember that no extreme is necessarily right.El Zocalo tells the story of young Raabe as he navigates through the forces of conformity in search of his own personal truth, Kampion said. Through a variety of media, including theater, dance, live music and painting, it offers the audience an honest and entertaining adventure that intends to arouse discussion around the issues of substance abuse and community responsibility.Directed and co-written by Churchill with the help of Jennifer Sands and choreography by Christine Tasseff, the event features performing artists Amber Luis, Goldah Moore, Colin Flanagan, Tessa Hays-Nordin, Sean Ritsema, Michael Stadler, Stephanie Linclaw, Ginny Norman, S. Matt Bennett and Wayne Carter.El Zocalo is made possible by a $600 grant from the RUAD program (Reduce Underage Drinking) of the Island County Sheriff's Dept., with support from the South Whidbey Youth Center. For information, call Churchill at 341-2648. "

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