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'Princess and the Pea' to be presented in Orrville

Kayleigh Molnar, front, left, Dakota Dunn, Skylar Wagner, Alexa Bird, Mayla P., Kirsten Molnar, Drazen Evanich and Landen Richardson will perform in "The Princess and the Pea."

Ellen Pill

Staci Gardner fixed the skirting on the intermission coffee table, and then went to adjust something with the stage lights, before sitting down to talk about Orrville Community Players' upcoming Rising Stars Production of "The Princess and the Pea." Officially, Gardner is directing the show. The full-time real estate agent is also the stage manager, light designer and technician and costumer.
"We are always looking for volunteers," said Gardner. The theater maintains a year round schedule of productions, and there are always opportunities for individuals who want to get involved. "Even if you don't want to be onstage," said Gardner, "We have plenty of opportunity for lights, sound, directing, whatever."
For this summer production, Gardner decided to try something new. There is a teen student director. After going through the company's summer workshops and acting in some plays, Andrew Butcher asked about directing. "He did really well. He has a good vision and the kids responded well to him," said Gardner.
"I would like to expand the program for any teenager that would like to try directing or lights or sound," said Gardner. Including kids in the crew fits well with the creative summer drama program.
It's not just about putting on a show with the kids during the summer. Gardner said, "We don't just rehearse the play. I like to do a lot of improv games so they can start thinking a little outside of what's written in the script."
Participants also do warm up games to focus on following on-the-spot direction. They work on voice projection as well. "The kids don't have microphones, so they have to be able to project... I ask them, 'If your grandma or grandpa is sitting in the back row, will they be able to hear you?' "
The cast of eleven includes ages 8 through 13, with a wide range of acting experience. "The Princess and the Pea" is Skylar Wagner's first play. She had always wanted to try acting. "I was out garage sale-ing with my mom and I saw a flyer for auditions," said Skylar. She said she is enjoying the experience. "You get to meet new people and you get to act."
Ten-year-old Alexa is a veteran actress. She has performed in numerous plays as well as two productions at the Akron Civic Theater. "I want to be an actress," said Bird. "I like everything about acting...being onstage..."
Dakota Dunnalso has a career in the performing arts in mind. "I just like to act. I want to be an actress when I grow up," she said. "A lot of that came from being here."
Audience members will get an extra treat during performances of "The Princess and the Pea." "We have a little surprise for the audience at the end of the shows," said Gardner. Several short skits written, directed and performed by the kids will follow the play.
"We had such a creative group of kids and a couple of them like to write and they like to direct," said Gardner. Three members of the cast wrote their own scripts. "They could write about anything in five minutes or less," said Gardner. "Two made commercials, and one made a short play. I read them through and they are really good."
These original mini productions will be presented after "The Princess and the Pea."
Orrville Community Players Rising Stars Production of "The Princess and the Pea" is adapted by Pat Rosenthal. Performances will be held June 24 at 7 p.m. and June 25 at 2:30 p.m. at 307 Hostetler Road, Orrville. Tickets are $5 prepaid up to 24 hours before show time and $7 at the door.
For more information, to purchase tickets, or to volunteer for future productions, go to www.orrvillecommunitytheater.org or call 330-439-2051.

Published: June 15, 2017
New Article ID: 2017170619972