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Wheel production rolls into Holland this weekend

Play celebrates community

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ABOVE: Residents of the village of Shora, Holland, prepare to rescue heroine Lina, front center, and 93-yearold Douwa, who have just found the wheel that will sit atop the school to attract storks in Windmill Productions’ version of the The Wheel on the School that will take the stage at the Holland Theatre this weekend. BELOW: Ross Training Center clients, from left, Sheena Braun, Matthew Wildermuth, Kate Hemphill and Mark Mitchell propel a puppet stork made by local puppeteer Pam Clouse during a dress rehearsal for this weekend’s performance. FRONT PAGE PHOTO: Residents of the village of Shora, Holland, look as Lina tests the stability of a wheel they installed on top of a school during a Tuesday dress rehearsal. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | REUBEN MEES)

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This weekend’s performance at the Holland Theatre, a locally-written adaptation of a children’s classic tale, brings the effort to restore the historic theater full circle, producers say.

The story is based on Meindert DeJong and Maurice Sendak’s Newberry Award Medal-winning novel The Wheel on the School, which takes place in the town of Shora, Holland. It was adapted for the stage locally by Kate Piatt and is being produced by Windmill Productions.

“One of the reasons we chose it is because one of the last pushes of the Holland board is restoring the interior,” director Thelma Matthews said. “This is a story about how the community comes together to accomplish a goal, from the school children to the very old to those with disabilities.”

The story is based on the Dutch tradition in which storks make nests on homes and buildings.

“In Holland, it’s a sign of prosperity if a stork builds a nest on your roof,” Ms. Matthews said. “The story takes place in Holland and the students want to build a wheel on a school to try to attract storks, but they find it takes everyone and that everyone is useful.

“That’s what I really love about the play is the diversity.”

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