In this day and age, communicating with others is easier than ever.
Technology has made it so we don’t have to pick up a book or embrace an old friend to stay in the know; the click of a mouse or the touch of a screen is all we need but easier does not necessarily mean better.
“Studies have shown that children spending time in front of a screen lack the ability to think creatively,” said Jim Becker, “It’s scary to think that generations to come will not have the ability for imaginative thinking, a thing necessary for solving problems and making new discoveries.”
Becker and his wife, Joan, are experts in the field of communication and creative expression. Both earned doctorates in oral interpretation from the University of Washington where they met and married. After graduation, they headed off to Fresno, Calif., where they taught everything from literature to the many aspects of theater in colleges and public schools in the area.
About four years ago, they returned to Spokane with a room full of costumes from their Fresno costume shop. They set up a new axis of creativity where they are free to introduce forms of expression as they see fit; dramatics, storytelling, writing, tea time, and the visual arts all have a place at the Lion’s Share, 1627 N. Atlantic St. It’s named after Aslan, C.S. Lewis’ creation of a Christ figure in his fantasy world of Narnia.
“In ‘The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,’ Mr. and Mrs. Beaver tell the children, ‘He is not a tame lion, but he is good.’ That sums up what we believe about the troubles and triumphs of life,” Jim Becker said, “We cannot control all that comes into our lives, but we can believe that ultimately, it is good.”
With that notion in mind, the couple invites children and adults to the Lion’s Share, an old home transformed into a bit of a fantasy world where floors and walls are painted with murals and decorated with Joan Becker’s paintings of lions, and sculptural creations. There, they offer personalized parties, costume rentals, performing and visual art classes and summer camps, and specialty events including the upcoming holiday dinner theater presentation, “Kidnapping Christmas.”
It’s a story written by Jim Becker who said, “Joan and I have come up with a definition of what we are about at The Lion’s Share: it is a theatre of reconciliation, redemption and healing. Everything we do is intended to serve those purposes. We want everyone, from audiences to participants, to experience these values. Our hope is that everyone who comes through our doors senses that this is where ‘good’ takes place.”
The cast includes three adults and three children ages 12, 11, and 8 who will perform among diners between courses of winter greens, glazed ham, potatoes, and dessert.
Outside of their work at the Lion’s Share, Joan Becker teaches communication at Spokane Falls Community College while Jim Becker teaches the same at Fairchild Air Force Base. Both are involved in Young Life and both hope that, by opening their doors, they will open the doors to imaginative thinking.