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'Together': A Message Of Cooperation

August 26, 1986|LYNNE HEFFLEY

You're the President of the United States and you and the premier of the Soviet Union can't agree on anything. What will you do?

That question, aimed at elementary school-age children, is part of a fluid half-hour of consciousness-raising called "Being Together," a touring production that played at the Los Angeles Children's Museum during the weekend.

Using music, a slide presentation, meditation and a few magic tricks, performer Bob Heuck and musician Amber Khan-Engel present a single theme: getting along with others.

The atmosphere is casual. Heuck, lean and sad-eyed, dresses in slacks, polo shirt and loafers. Khan-Engel, an intense, dark-haired woman, is stationed at an electric keyboard. When it's time for the slide show--a long parade of pictures of children and adults from different parts of the world--Heuck runs the machine while he and Amber sing.

Heuck tells vividly of his friendship with a farmer in Greece, an uneducated, gentle man, to suggest that if the people of the world are not strangers to one another, war is inconceivable.

He then guides the audience through a few meditative moments. The lights are turned down and members of the audience are asked to close their eyes, visualize a favorite television program, change channels, picture having an argument with a friend and then, as President, imagine an argument with a foreign leader. When the lights go up, children in the audience are asked for their solutions to conflicts, both at a personal level and a global one.

Not surprisingly, the general response is that talking things over is a good idea.

Strongly reminiscent of the wide-eyed glow of '60s idealism, there is a palpable sense that this is a mission of enlightenment, though no religious or philosophical slant is apparent.

That the message doesn't cloy is a tribute to the show's brevity and to Heuck's agile grace as emcee and storyteller.

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