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CLIMB Theatre taking "A Deeper Look" at stereotypes

Most area residents are aware of the softer stereotype that follows along with being a Minnesotan. Elongated “o’s” and an apparent knack for saying “you betch ya” CLIMB Theatre’s performance at Central Lakes College Wednesday afternoon broke down stereotypes as harmless — and at times even positive — as the ones attributed to Minnesotans, to the more racial and religious prejudices that are still commonly seen across the world today.

Titled “A Deeper Look,” eight actors took to the Chalberg Theatre to share their and other actors’ true stories of dealing with stereotypes through monologues, scenes, dance and slides.

“It’s very important (to discuss these issues) because we all stereotype, all the time, even when we don’t realize it,” said JR Ritcherson, an actor with CLIMB Theatre since August 2011. “Even if we don’t know someone we judge them by how they look how they appear before we even talk to them.

“And it’s especially important in a more predominately white town where they don’t see as many races or ethnicity around to discuss all the stereotypes that truly do exist out there.”

Drawing students and community members alike in a show that is only touring 11 college campuses in Minnesota, the hour- long play — complete with free admission — highlighted the message that “stereotypes are learned and can be unlearned as we come to see who we and others truly are” and the power to change the way people are perceiving and perceived.

“Stereotypes are an issue all over, not just Minnesota or in any specific area,” said Ritcherson, who noted that CLIMB Theatre began the “A Deeper Look” performances in 2010 following a request by a school in Minnesota facing serious racial prejudices. “But by using this performance maybe we can show others that stereotypes aren’t specific to just one race or one religion and you have the power to change the way those stereotypes affect you.”

JESSI PIERCE may be reached at 855-5859 or Follow her on Twitter at (@jessi_pierce).