If you run into a lion on Montgomery Street, do not be alarmed. Rolondo Henson-Lopez is just trying to put on a show.
And as vendors at the M Street Cooperative arts and crafts festival (adjacent to the Syracuse Arts and Crafts Festival) have items for sale, The Media Unit has stories to tell.
The Media Unit is a non-profit organization focused on sharing stories through performance to the city of Syracuse. Henson-Lopez is one of the student performers.
The Media Unit had rows of books and videos lined up outside their location at 327 Montgomery St. All of these were lined up, inviting visitors to weave their way around.
Instead of pricing the books and videos, they asked for donations. These donations go directly to student scholarships.
Henson-Lopez is a senior at Liverpool High School. He became interested in the theater during his 7th grade following a talent show. By working at the Media Unit, he’s able to keep performing.
“I do this for the thrill of entertainment. One performance I can be the Cowardly Lion. Next, I’m Michael Jackson,” Henson-Lopez said.
Abigail Moen is another student who performs at The Media Unit. A classmate of Henson-Lopez, she spent her whole life in Liverpool. She’s also had the desire to perform for as long as she knows.
“We are so humble to perform to such a wide audience,” Moen said.
Right now, they’re participating “Back in the Bus”, which looks at racial issues in today’s society. Following each performance, they have open dialogues with the audience.
“It is amazing to teach lessons to people,” Moen said.
During the summer season, they can perform over 60 shows. But there is one date that stands out the most to Henson-Lopez and Moen.
“The chance to perform at the New York State Fair is amazing. People look forward to it all year long,” Moen said.
They will perform near the African American Culture Village, Henson-Lopez said.