ALAXSXA|ALASKA is back and still packing them in. The production by Ping Chong, a company based in New York City, uses puppets, Yup’ik drumming, and dance to produce a theatrical collage based on Alaskan history, personal stories, and climate change. At the core of ALAXSXA|ALASKA stands Gary Beaver, who is from Kasigluk in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. Beaver says that being part of the production helped him come to terms with his own addiction to alcohol, and he says that the play is making a difference for others.
“I’ve been missing home” Beaver says, “but at least it’s been helping somebody out there that I know of. And this project made me a little stronger, so it’s been helping me too. So I hope this piece helps somebody out there too, which it does. So I’m hoping it touches somebody.”
Beaver and Ryan Conarro, who directed and performs in the production, were in Bethel rehearsing before staring a month-long tour of ALAXSXA|ALASKA throughout the state.
They head to Anchorage on Thursday September 27 to prepare for performances there. They will also be traveling to communities in Kachemak Bay, communities in the Bering Straits School District, and making a special appearance at the Youth and Elders Conference in Anchorage. The Ping Chong production of ALAXSXA|ALASKA was in Bethel and Kasigluk last year.