Spring break success

Eau Claire students prepare for the arrival of RATCo



Story by Meghan Hosely, Staff Writer

In just two months, Selma-Eau Claire Exchange Coordinators Ali Konz and Lexy Harris were able to plan, execute, and go on a weeklong alternative spring break trip to Selma, Ala. with a group of students in tow. Now, their biggest task is planning the other half of the exchange, bringing people from Selma up here to Eau Claire.

At 7:30 p.m. on April 25, Random Acts of Theater (RATCo) of Selma are coming to the Zorn Arena to perform. There is no admissions fee, but a five dollar donation is highly recommended.

Seven young men, also known as the Selma Seven, make up RATCo. They have toured other places, including two colleges, but Eau Claire is the biggest audience they’ve ever performed for, and the farthest north they’ve gone, Konz said.

RATCo will be in Eau Claire from April 24-27. Konz and Harris are trying to get RATCo into a high school to perform, but besides the two performances, the rest of the time spent is still being planned. Harris said most of the off time the Selma Seven will have is still being planned, but there are ideas in the works. She said the main thing was showing these men a little bit about Wisconsin culture, and the city of Eau Claire itself.

Exchange Coordinator Konz, freshman, said RATCo’s performance will feature theatre and poetry/spoken word. Before RATCo performs, there will be other performers from the Eau Claire area, such as hip-hop performers, poetry readers, and singers.

“It’s really hard to explain what people are going to experience there,” Konz said. “Being in Eau Claire, we have the privilege to not experience … poverty as much, we don’t experience segregation as much.”

The purpose RATCo serves in Selma is to provide a way for kids to get off of the streets, and out of trouble, junior Kayla Larmour said. Larmour said she didn’t know what to expect.

“It was a complete culture shock,” Larmour said. “I’ve done trips like that before, just not in a segregated community.”

Harris said the Selma spring break trip will continue next year, and there’s already a grant for the trip next year, meaning the overall price will be smaller than this year’s.

First, Harris and Konz are preparing for RATCo’s arrival at the end of this month.

“When we first started, we had a layout of what we wanted the whole thing to look like, and we had to focus on … the getting to Selma part,” Harris said. “Now that we’re focusing on the second part, we kind of have what we want, but I feel that this is falling together a lot easier.”

The primary focus, Harris said, is to expose the Selma Seven to a primarily white community, and for Eau Claire residents to open their minds to the problems they don’t normally see. It’s been the goal all along.