The Good Fortune Artists

The following blog was written by Martie Ogle (pictured center in the photo at right), a member of the Fortune Artists group of the 2010 Summer Shakespeare Conservatory.

Six months after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, residents are still struggling to recover in their demolished country. Since the media has moved onto different stories, donations have slowed; many Haitians aren’t getting the relief they need. Among those who need the most aid are small children, from infants to teens, who are living in ruins of their homes, in under-funded orphanages, or on the streets. Orphans as young as five are now living on their own and have resorted to stealing food for survival. Over a million children are estimated to be orphaned, twice the amount prior to the earthquake.

After reading an article in the paper about Haiti and telling the cast about it, the Fortune Artists decided to hold a fundraiser to benefit children in Haiti. The Fortune Artists are the second-oldest group at Five-Week Conservatory, with most of us entering our freshman or sophomore years of high school. By spending a month in a theater camp with about a hundred other children, we saw how smaller kids really needed help and guidance on a daily basis, and that’s just in a Shakespeare Camp! We recognized that kids the same age as our younger thespians weren’t getting the help they needed in Haiti. So we decided to do something about it.

Our show this year was a punk version of Henry IV set in 1970s England (see partial cast photo at right), highlighting the tension between young rebels and the government. After watching the oldest group—the Queen’s Own—hold multiple successful fundraisers, we decided to use the all-Conservatory performance days as our chance to generate revenue by holding a bake sale to benefit Haiti. So what if none of us had organized a fundraiser before? Phooey on that! We proposed the idea to our director, who gave us a couple of minutes of rehearsal time to divide and conquer. We eventually ended up with two committees (set-up/clean-up and publicity), three different shifts to work, and everyone pledged to bring in some form of sugary deliciousness.

After two days of confusion, chaos and mega-long Facebook messages, we made it to Friday. Performance Day. Bake Sale Day. D-day. For sale, we had cookies, brownies, rice crispies, scones, muffins, English toffee-chocolate bars, cheesecake, water, lemonade, punch, and only about 60 or so cupcakes. The youngest kids were our first major rush, and we made about 40 dollars in the fifteen minutes after their show. The day continued with dashes between last-minute rehearsals, bake sale, costume changes, bake sale, makeup application, back sale, fight call, and bake sale. By the end of the day, we were too tired to count up the money, and left it at the theater overnight.

But first thing the next morning, I was too excited to wait, and quickly tallied the money to come to (drum roll please) … $225.64! From a BAKE SALE! And to make things even better, Matson Navigation Co. has matched our profit to make a grand total of $451.28! That’s amazing. I personally feel proud and honored to have been part of such a wonderful team effort.

Till next time,
Martie Ogle (King Henry IV), Fortune Artist

The Fortune Artists who assisted in the preparation of this bake sale were: Myself, Julia Hershey and Mother, Remy Behrendt, Mariah Neurge, Noah St. John, Eliana Fujita, Madison O’Connor, Alex Jonasse, Miranda Taylor, Stephanie Brannon, Jonathan Bianchini, Lauren McCaffrey, Ariel Coronado, Madeline Clark, Ariel Adair, Alex Shankland, and Katya Walch. We’d also like to thank intern Mirabelle Korn, Teaching Artist Fellow Carrie Foster, and director Dylan Russell. All profits were donated to Save the Children, a nonprofit organization helping children around the world and in Haiti.

Photos by Jay Yamada.

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