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One-Man Play Brings MLK Jr.'s Story To Life For Children

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Lisa Mauch
/
Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library

The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library are partnering to make a recorded performance of Martin's Dream available Jan. 18 - 22. The one-man show created for kids in grades 3-8 explores the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The show was created and performed by Deondra Kamau Means, resident playwright and workshop artist for the Children's Theatre of Cincinnati, who uses storytelling, speeches and music to teach children about the civil rights leader. It chronicles his life from a young child through his historic speech during the March on Washington.

"As we look at what's going on in our world today, I think it's so very important for us to continue to tell the stories of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King so we'll never forget the horrible atrocities that plague our world today with people not being treated equally or people not being able to exercise their freedoms," he tells WVXU.

Means describes the show as inspirational and says he hopes it empowers people to speak up. People frequently tell him they've learned something new upon viewing the show.

Means wants children to understand how important education was to Dr. King, but also see that he was human and "that the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was just as accessible as their own; that he lived a regular life. He played tricks; he was a kid at one point just like they are, but he saw things that were wrong in his community and in his church, and at a young age he decided to do something about it."

Means created Martin's Dream in 2010 but the version available through the library was adapted and recorded last November. Teachers can register for a link to show the performance to their classes or parents/guardians can sign up for a link to view with their children at home. The on-demand video can be viewed anytime Jan 18 - 21. The deadline to register to receive the link is Jan. 21. Companion activity packets are also available from the Children's Theatre.