‘KABman’ receives state, national recognition

Dec 19, 2011 | General News, Liberal Arts

Students, faculty and members of the community gathered in Stone Theatre Thursday to recognize Louisiana Tech’s School of Performing Arts for their national and state awards. The creativity behind the Ruston community and Tech theater department shined through this year with the production of “KABman,” which resulted in awards and recognition for those involved. Tech’s School of Performing Arts, Camille Mize, head of the Keep Lincoln Parish Beautiful Board; and Cathi Cox-Boniol, also of KLPB, said they were pleasantly surprised when they learned that not only did “KABman,” which stands for Keep America Beautiful, win the Keep Louisiana Beautiful 2011 Innovation Award but also national attention with Keep America Beautiful’s Special Recognition award for creativity, outreach and media. “KABman” was the brainchild of Mark Guinn, a professor of theater, who watched cartoons of KABman on the national KAB website and started dreaming up a production and other characters. With the help of undergraduate and graduate theater students, costumes were created, songs and a script were written, and more characters, including villains Big Pollution and Cig-Man, were born. “I took the idea from KABman cartoons. I wanted a way to tie it to the schools and to Louisiana,” Guinn said. “I had an idea of an action show, of a multimedia show. We had a week of performances and a couple of matinees – the matinees rocked. The students got into it – both on stage and in the audience.” Guinn said almost 500 fifth grade and middle school students attended the matinees to watch the performance. As far as the awards go, Guinn, Cox-Boniol and Mize said they were unaware they were being recognized when they went to attend the national KAB meeting in New Orleans. “We knew we were getting the Keep Louisiana Beautiful award, but the other was a complete surprise,” Mize said. Cox-Boniol said she hoped that other communities saw the collaboration between Tech and Ruston and were inspired. “This project focuses on innovation and creativity, something Tech has led in so many ways, something our parish schools are following,” she said. “It was amazing to see this idea come to life.” Guinn said while no more productions of “KABman” are currently scheduled, there are talks about revisiting it next year. “There is discussion of bringing it back,” he said. “I wanted to get it out to the schools.”