‘Buffalo Woman’ cast captivates Mineral Springs audience

Students present school drama club’s first on-stage production

By Kevin Spradlin

ELLERBE — Jamie Sears, Battle Grooms and Jamerius McRae were instrumental in unifying groups from two diverse backgrounds.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

The three fifth grade students at Mineral Springs Elementary School led the cast of 24 students in the retelling of “Buffalo Woman,” a 1984 children’s book written by Paul Gable that told of the Lakota tribe in South Dakota.

Jamerius plays the Great Buffalo Chief who sends out two scouts looking for a herd of buffalo that has apparently left the Dakota plains.

During the scouts’ trip, they come across an extraordinary buffalo that turns into Buffalo Woman, played by Jamie. She offers to marry one of the hunters, Buffalo Man played by Battle, and unite the buffaloes and the tribesmen. That works, but only for a while. The native tribal people don’t particularly care for Buffalo Woman, a mixed breed of sorts, living among them. In their fear and anger, they lash out and drive off Buffalo Woman and her son Calf Boy, portrayed by Adelso Contreras-Gonzalez.

Buffalo Man, as husband and father, stands up to the Great Buffalo Chief.

“I will never turn back,” Buffalo Man insists. “I love my family.”

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

The chief challenges Buffalo Man: “You must prove it to me.”

Buffalo  Man is then tasked with identifying his wife and son out of a herd of buffalo — nearly like finding a needle in a haystack. But Buffalo Man passes the test.

The chief then sends Buffalo Man into isolation. For three days and three nights, he must sleep by himself inside a tent wrapped in a buffalo skin. When he emerges, Buffalo Man is no longer human. After the conversion, Buffalo Man and Buffalo woman hope to again unite the buffaloes and their tribal people.

Fifth grade reading teacher Lora Kelly said the students began rehearsals nearly a month ago for the 20-minute production with a focus on voice projection. The play was performed twice on Tuesday, a 9 a.m. performance in the school auditorium for grades pre-kindergarten through second grade and a 10 a.m. show for grades three through five.

Kelly, who was assisted in set design and costumes by volunteer Mary O’Kelly,  said stage presence will be a focus of the group’s second play, planned for Spring 2015.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kelly said the school’s newly created Drama Club offers students from a variety of academic backgrounds the chance to shine. All too often, Kelly said, a school focuses on nurturing the academic side of a student by not enough focus in put on seeing potential talent fulfilled.

The cast included: Jamie Sears as Buffalo Woman; Battle Grooms as Buffalo Man; Jamerius McRae as the Great Buffalo Chief; Adelso Contreras-Gonzalez as Calf Boy; Maya Ledbetter as First Aunt; Xion McDonald as First Uncle; Sheila Martinez as Second Aunt; Cody Troller as Second Uncle; Hayley McCormick as Third Aunt; Uriel Chaparo as Third Uncle; and Buffalo Dancers Sequoyah Little, Paris Almon, Kelsey Tarlton, Caylie Holden, Sheridan Brown, Hailey Maness, Marissa Sweet, Makayla Webb, Dominick McDonald, Anthony Chavez, Mauricio Felipe and Omarion Convington; and Tykiya Robinson and Dexter Mabe as  narrators.

Marisa Sweat provided the play’s introduction and Shavonne Green led the audience, which included several parents and family members, in the Pledge of Allegiance.




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