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Heavy Metal

CHRIS CODUTO/Arizona Daily Wildcat
"Zink, the Myth, the Legend, the Zebra," is a play by Cherie Bennett, about a girl who gets chemo for leukemia. Here, Becky Zaslo, played by Jeanie Bergen (left), sees the three zebras, Zip, Zap and Ice Z, played by Maria Alburtus, Chad Ramsey and Gloria Colchado, for the first time.
By Kylee Dawson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, September 30, 2004
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'Zink' is more than average child's play

Sometimes even children's plays can involve heavy subject matter. A new play presented by the UA Educational Theatre Company tackles the difficulties of illness, death and being different, but with a lighthearted approach.

"Zink: The Myth, The Legend, The Zebra," is a play inspired by the short story written by Kelly Weil, who lost her battle with leukemia in 1993 at age 11.

The show is dedicated to the memory of Carlos Valencia, a Tucson teen who died of leukemia in August.

With permission from Carlos' family, his photo and story will be featured in the lobby display with literature about cancer, said Laura McCammon, associate professor of theatre arts and faculty adviser for the play.

Kelly's story was about a polka-dotted zebra named Zink who just wanted to be treated like all the other striped zebras.


  • Today, 7:30 p.m.
  • Tomorrow, 10:30 a.m. (a 15-20 minute post-show discussion will immediately follow)
  • Tomorrow, 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, 1:30 p.m. & 4 p.m.
  • Playwright Cherie Bennett, who also wrote the novel, "Zink," wrote the adapted play in the late 1990s.

    "I just find the script to be extremely funny and heartwarming," said theatre arts senior Marilyn Mumaw, who directed the play.

    The play is about Becky Zaslow, a 10-year-old girl with leukemia who desires to become a famous singer. Unfortunately, Becky's mother will not allow her to audition because she must go to the hospital for chemotherapy treatment.

    Using her imagination, Becky creates a zebra world in which the wise old zebra Mama Zeke holds auditions for a talent show. The winner's prize is a trip to the human world to aid Becky.

    The play shifts back and forth from the human world to the animal world, which mirror Becky's life, including family tension.

    In the animal world, Zink is a legendary polka-dotted zebra who was shunned by the herd for being different. But when she saved the herd by distracting lions from attacking them, she was never seen again and rumors about Zink frequently surface.

    "I chose 'Zink' because it touches a place close to my heart," Mumaw said. "My mother died from cancer when I was in high school, and I used to think I was the only one who had someone affected by it."

    Mumaw said she has met several people at UA who have been affected by cancer and hopes "Zink" will help kids who are also affected by cancer realize that they are not alone.

    "Also, the play brings up issues of accepting diversity and true bravery that can help not only children who may be affected by cancer, but to anyone who may not fit in around them, i.e. anyone who has polka dots instead of stripes," Mumaw said.

    Mumaw began organizing the play last spring and after the auditions, rehearsals began this semester.

    "Over the summer, the parallels between Becky's story and that of Carlos Valencia became clear," said McCammon. "Marilyn and I thought that area children might benefit if they could make a connection between Carlos and Becky."

    "Zink" premieres on campus at the Marroney Theatre, located at the southeast corner of North Park Avenue and East Speedway Boulevard.

    The first performance starts today at 7:30 p.m. and will run until Saturday. The play will also tour other schools on Fridays for the rest of the fall semester.

    Tickets are available through the UA Fine Arts Box Office and cost $4 each, but group discounts are available.

    Donations for the Leukemia Society of America in memory of Carlos will be accepted after the show.

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