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South African musician performs at UAA

UAA sponsored two performances by Vusi Mahlasela, a guitarist from South Africa whose political and socially-focused songs made him a target of the apartheid-era South African government. Mahlasela started his 2005 touring season in Alaska, performing twice at UAA before traveling south to the Kenai Peninsula College for a performance there. Mahlasela performed Feb. 9 in the Student Union Den, launching Student Activities’ Performing Arts Potpourri series, which will feature a new performer each week until Spring Break. He also performed Feb. 10 in the Fine Arts Building, Room 150. Mahlasela’s performances coincided with UAA’s Black History Month celebrations.

All-female cast distinguishes local professor’s first play in 9 years

Three UAA students joined three community members to form the all-female cast in “Just Sisters,” which premiered Jan. 10 in the Fine Arts Building, Room 220. The play was written and directed by UAA professor Fran Lautenberger, who teaches costume design and puppetry.

In the play, Sam, played by Michelle Wozniak, invites her five sisters over for a weekend during the summer. There, the sisters challenge each others’ life choices.

The cast includes UAA students Nina Tomlinson, Ruby Kennell and Michelle Webb, and Anchorage actresses Joan Cullinane and Michelle Beakler. Though Lautenberger has directed such UAA productions as “The Angelina Project” and “Dr. Faustus,” “Just Sisters” is the first play written and directed by Lautenberger since her 1996 play “The Adventures of Baba Yaga.” Lautenberger took a sabbatical in fall 2003 to write the play, which has gone through six drafts to reach the final script.

“Just Sisters” will play Friday, Saturdays and Sundays through Feb. 26. Friday and Saturday plays start at 8 p.m., Sunday plays start at 3 p.m. Tickets for Fridays and Saturdays are $12 general admission, $17 reserved seating. Tickets for Sundays are $9 general admission, $13 reserved seating.

Alaska-made ‘Mustard Seed’ released

An all-Alaskan cast and crew have completed filming the Christian film, “Mustard Seed,” a story on the renewal of faith. Youth minister David Blair’s faith in God is tested when his brother is murdered, but it begins to fail when his wife is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Helped by his friends and son, Blair (played by local actor Yatai Jones) renews his faith God in a film by local Alaska entertainment company Carlton Entertainment. Led by Rev. Derick Carlton (who plays Blair’s brother, Chad), Carlton Entertainment is working on a five-year contract with Maverick Films, producing Christian films in Alaska. “Mustard Seed” will premiere in Alaska prisons Feb. 18 concurrently with its release.

Events close celebration of statehood

The University of Alaska’s Creating Alaska Project ended its celebrations of the constitutional convention granting statehood to Alaska. The constitutional convention adjourned Feb. 6, 1956 after organizing and approving the state’s constitution. The celebrations concluded with a documentary, “The 49th State: Creating Alaska” produced by KUAC-TV. An exhibit on the making of Alaska’s statehood will continue traveling throughout Alaska in the coming years. Alaska celebrates the 50th anniversary of statehood April 24, the day citizens adopted the constitution.