Changing Perceptions Performance of “Our Stories II”


Last October, Platt Branch played host to a spirited performance by Changing Perceptions: Theater by the Blind and Physically Disabled. The ten participants in the group's original play were Martin Bormaster, Arnett Coates, Victor Frias Sr., Catherine Gourdine, Bert Grose, Kathryn Janssen, Leela Kazerouni, Mike Novak, Ernest Pipoly, and Stephanie Lynn Schafer.

With such a large cast, the danger exists that some will outshine others or dominate the performance. However, each actor's story was so heartfelt and compelling that as the piece progressed, ten distinct and real people unfolded. The structure of the presentation allowed each person to present a timeline from how they lost their sight, to how they dealt with the loss, to their pet peeves, to their fantasies. As they took us through their stories, with humor, anger, and the entire range of human emotions, they managed to paint aural pictures of their continued growth…and made a strong case to be seen as vital and contributing members of society. There was even a practical lesson in guiding a visually disabled person given by Martin Bormaster, with an enthusiastic young audience member named Michael. An added treat was the sweet playing of Bert Grose on alto sax.

A question and answer session conducted by Christine Kokubo, Producing Artistic Director and Founder of Changing Perceptions, followed the performance. Ms. Kokubo spoke about the aims of the theater company, foremost of which is the desire to change the general public's perceptions of the disabled.

Another interesting aspect of this program was the presence of The Ethel Louise Armstrong Foundation's “audio-describers,” Deborah Lewis and Teri Grossman. Through headphones, they described the action on stage to blind audience members.

Jack Zafran, Young Adult Librarian

Displaying Love


Our most sincere thanks to Sterling Rachootin for graciously sharing love tokens from his extensive collection for the November library cabinet display.

Love tokens are coins engraved to memorialize a special relationship or event. The events can be happy or sad. Library visitors were particularly intrigued by coins etched “?” and “Come Back”. Who carved them, what events did they represent?

Initials, objects, sentimental words, even Thanksgiving symbols were delicately carved on the silver and gold coins. Each item was carefully displayed with an enlarged color photo so the marvelous craftsmanship could easily be seen and appreciated. The exhibit was a rare treat for all to enjoy. Again, our special thanks to Sterling.

Those who have a collection they would like to loan can contact Senior Librarian Lynn Light at (818) 340-9386 to schedule a month for display.

Millie Berger, Past President

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