As Fognozzle, the elusive water dragon would say, "Water is important. Conservation is cool, at home or at school."
And in case the little children at Salt Lake's School for the Deaf and Blind didn't understand that long word, "conservation," Chester the Jester and Amber, a feisty female knight, were there to tell them:- Turn faucets off tightly. Fix them if they leak.
- Wash full loads of clothes or dishes.
- Take short showers or shallow baths.
- Wash the car from a bucket, then quickly rinse with a hose.
- Water plants and lawns only when necessary.
Chester (Dan Goleski) and Amber (Melissa Martin) and their red furry friend Fognozzle are part of the Small Change Theater of Minneapolis, Minn. They have been hired by Salt Lake City Public Utilities to take the message of water conservation to school children in the area.
Over the next month, Small Change actors will appear in 40 schools within the utility's service area. In addition to presenting the play, they leave behind an activity packet to help teachers reinforce the "water is important" theme.
At the school for handicapped youngsters, the presentation took on an added dimension.
Kim Wadsworth, a teacher, got into the spirit of the play with an enthusiastic signing so hearing-impaired youngsters could "hear" the dilemma of Chester and Amber as they searched for the magic word. Every so often, there was a flicker of little fingers throughout the audience as deaf children responded to the play in their own style of communication.
As part of the action, several small students became impromptu members of the cast. Kylee Bennett became a teapot, Devin Densley a toothbrush and Jonathan Helgesen a very dirty auto as they told classmates how to avoid wasting water.
Craig Hansen, organization development manager with the water service, said the plays have been useful in helping children understand the need for saving water. Last year, a similar production also reached children in 40 schools.