THE THEATRE SCENE: “Hansel & Gretel and The Creepy Woods” by Jeannette Jaquish

Performed by the Teen Advisory Group at the Raynham Public Library on Wednesday July 26th, 2017.

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I met the Teen Advisory Group at the request of Mrs. Karen Brother. She said they needed to talk to someone who knew about how to put on a play. The group had wanted to put on a play. They had a script picked out but didn’t know where to begin. It was a great introductory meeting. I was excited to introduce them to the magic of stage production. I described each technical role that would need to be filled to get the show off the ground. It all begins with a director and we immediately had a volunteer with a vision, the student who selected the script, Riley Menconi.

It will be hard to judge this show objectively since I had a hand in all the students work; guiding them throughout the production process. Plus, my husband Kris Roy, and daughter Alice, were cast in the show, which made my heart flutter with pride to see them perform. But it doesn’t matter since I love all shows. I just happen to love this one the most. I will admit the process was fun, but this blog is about the performance. On performance day, we picked up a cubic ton of stock scenery from Wheaton College. The scenery was donated graciously and we owe our whole scenic design to them.

Some of the students arrived bright and early to help load in the set. They crafted the archways and decorated the apron with vines and ferns. We did not need a backdrop since the play is set in the woods we had the perfect location, a flat surface in the parking lot and the natural landscape of the trees behind us. On the 6 platforms we had a 4 piece band and several entrances for characters. The cast couldn’t wait to rehearse on it.

We had to act fast since the library’s summer reading event was to kick off at 6:30pm. Everyone learned their marks and dressed for the main event. The library ice cream social drew in 200 people including children. Most of the attraction was the ice cream obviously, but many came having heard that there would be a free play for children. The audience anticipation grew and at 7:15pm some of the cast took the stage. We engaged the audience in participation games. Improv games and tongue twisters had the kids out of their seats and acting silly with their friends.

A couple of friends came out to see our show, Laura Lee Lange and Mandy Marie, to name drop a few. In addition, I recognized many kids and parents from my daughter’s school. Not surprising since we are only a half mile down the road from the elementary school. The whole community came out in support. The good vibes were felt by everyone for sure.

The set came out great except one of the special effects planned for the evening didn’t get to happen. We had accounted for a dry ice effect to enhance the children being cooked in a soup pot. During load-in, the store which once sold dry ice informed us they no longer supply it. The audience didn’t seem to care. They could barely hear the show but they laughed anyway. The puppets were a great addition to the script. Since we were short on cast members, people got double cast, fairy characters became puppets so only one person had to handle the role! Creative influence credit on this choice goes to myself. The audience loved the puppets!

Everyone deserves a pat on the back for their work in this show. They are only teens after all and they coordinated just as much technical production tasks as real theatre artisans. My teaching skills came in handy for most of the process, but without their dedication outside the library, it wouldn’t have been possible. This was my first full stage production under my production entity Ophelia Pearls. I want to thank the Teen Advisory Group for giving me the opportunity to participate in this community outreach project.

I want to thank Riley for his great ideas and passion for the library’s overall mission. I want to thank Karen Brother for all her work with the children in our community. Sometimes, when life at home is tough, and you feel like you’ve been dumped in the middle of the woods to be eaten by dark magical creatures, you just need a little guidance from some caring community members to show you your way back safely.

Get seen on the scene with me next time!

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