Performers become characters in “Story Theatre”
High school actors, actresses learn lessons about character transformation in 'untypical' play
November 14, 2001
By JOSH NICHOLS
Daily Press writer
In acting, one must transform his or her personality into something or someone else during the extent of a performance. They learn the role of a character, and become it.
Moffat County High School students putting on this year’s fall play had to do more than just learn the part of one character. They had to learn the part of numerous different characters.
The students are putting on the production, “Story Theatre” by Paul Sills at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and it’s not your typical play.
The former Broadway and off-Broadway production consists of several stories from the Grimm brothers’ collection and Aesop’s fables.
The length of each individual play ranges in length from three to 20 minutes, said play director Amy Coleman.
The students play everything from chicken and geese to robbers and soldiers, she said.
Some of the stories will be familiar to many people, Coleman said.
Tales included in “Story Theatre” are, “The Little Peasant,” “The Bremen Town Musicians,” “Is He Fat?,” “Master Thief,” “Venus and the Cat,” “The Fisherman,” “Two Crows” and “The Golden Goose.”
Although they are different in many ways, most of the plays share a common theme.
“Most of the them involve a normal person manipulating everyone else,” Coleman said. “It’s a play that I did in highschool and I liked it a lot.”
Another reason Coleman chose “Story Theatre” was because it is an all encompassing play that everyone can enjoy.
Children will enjoy the different funny characters, like chicken and geese, while the adult audiences will be able to read deeper into what each play means, Coleman said.
“The adult audiences will see more of the symbolism in it and what is really going on,” she said. “It’s a pretty well-rounded play.”
Another unique characteristic of the performance, Coleman said, is that there is not much focus on the set and costumes, so the focus is all on the performers.
Students are not limited in their roles either.
“There’s a lot of flexibility in the parts,” she said. “They get to improv the entire thing.”
Melissa Luke, a junior playing a part in “Story Theatre,” said she’s been involved with theater most of her life, but this performance is unique.
“It’s a lot of fun because you get to do several different things,” she said. “It’s unique because it’s a bunch of different plays in one. It’s fun to change characters within five minutes.”
Maggie Rugh, a junior who also plays a role in this weekend’s performances, agreed with her stage mate.
“You don’t have to concentrate on being the same thing over and over,” she said. “It is difficult though, because not only do you have to change costumes between each skit, but you must also change your accent and your personality.”
In the final days leading up to their performance, the two actors and their directors agreed that it was time to perform in front of an audience.
“Things have been going very well,” Rugh said.
“Things are going good,” she said. “But, the kids are totally ready for an audience.”
When a student from the school yearbook came to watch and write a story, the performers didn’t want her to leave, because she had been their only audience, Coleman said.
Coleman said an old belief is that actors have nightmares leading up to performances that they get up in front of an audience and freeze, but she’s been teasing the students saying that directors have nightmares that no one shows up.
But Luke said anyone who attends should enjoy the production.
“It’s really for everyone,” she said. “There’s a lot of humor in it.”
Tickets to “Story Theatre” are $5, and students with a valid I.D. get in free.