Our Mission is to bring the power and magic of live theater free of charge to as many children in The Bay Area as possible.
Children's Plays and Theatrical Residencies
Statement of Need
When you meet a child, any child, who hasn’t been exposed to the arts, it shows. In the United States, it’s showing:
- Our children’s artistic diets consist of four hours of television and video games every day.
- By age fourteen, America’s youth have witnessed an estimated 12,000 simulated murders.
- The time spent watching violent and degrading images, sandwiched between commercials pandering to the lowest common denominator in humanity, takes its toll – our country’s children have the world’s highest teenage suicide and murder rates.
Most creators of video games, television shows, and motion pictures don’t care about our children’s futures; they care about one thing and one thing only.
At Jarrett Productions, we do care very much about our children’s futures. If you or someone you know also cares, please contact Jarrett Productions. Together, we truly can make a difference for our children, our schools, and the arts.
Manners do matter. They’re critical because they are our first impressions, in so many areas, throughout our entire lives. Manners Matter addresses – on a young person’s playing field – the idea that manners are a choice, and that each of us affects our lives’ directions by the choices we make when responding to other human beings.
Jarrett adds, “My hope with Manners Matter is to empower our children to ask themselves, ‘Who do I want to be and how am I going to react in this very moment?’ … So when a kid teases them or gossips about them or they get up in front of people and it goes horribly wrong, for whatever reason, then years from now, they're not having to go to therapy once a week to rid themselves of the beasts of fear they’ve created that paralyze them and strangle their dreams.”
The Worst Thing About Being Me is …
is an improvisational, interactive theatrical experience for our children as they pass through one of the most difficult and for some, cruel stages of life - junior high school. The peer pressure, the cliques, the cool kids versus the outcasts (some of us adults are still recovering from days way back then).
The setup is simple – the students answer the play’s title on an index card, which they deposit anonymously into a box, which is then brought to the center of the stage. Jarrett enters, gives a brief introduction, then reaches in and pulls out the first card.
What happens next is unscripted, but a theme soon emerges at every show – “The worst thing about being me is ... I have no friends ... I’m too short, too tall, too ugly, too dumb, too poor, too...” it continues, but the theme is the same: “I don’t feel like I’m enough…” As Jim reads and talks about these “shortcomings” with compassion and empathy, the students soon realize that everyone feels like they do. Everyone. Soon, the piece shifts from the improvisational “give and take” to a more theatrical experience – lighting, music, images, and students talking about their struggles.
Once again, the goal of the play is to help all students realize that they are not alone in their “shortcomings” and to challenge them to have compassion for every single person they meet because we all have felt that way inside.
Graduation Day (Now What Am I Really Supposed to Do?)
How many of us remember our own graduation speaker or their message? In this powerful performance, Jarrett stirs things up for students who are sitting on the verge of life-with-a-capital-L. As a commencement speaker, he challenges us to take a look at what’s really important, and in so doing, likely becomes a commencement speaker we’ll remember for years to come.
The theatrical presentation was born out of Jarrett's dramatic performances for an international theatre conference where he was subsequently asked to speak extemporaneously about his life as an actor, what determines his choices, what has colored his view of the world, and what really matters in life.
Jim's comments, based in large part on his regard for the role certain teachers have played in his life and the impact and power really great teachers can have on all of us, generated such response that he was asked to present it again as a graduation speech -- hence this performance was born.
Jarrett's motivational approach is one of positive, uplifting, soul baring, challenging honesty, yet it also shakes one's self-perception up a bit. It's not what the students will come in expecting. The experience will remain with them long after the curtain has come down and will inspire students to ask themselves some serious questions along the way. At its heart, that’s what all good teachers strive to accomplish.