Jr. high students debut play

ABOVE: Norah Heille and Kyle Goraczkowski as Cinderella and Rumpelstiltskin respectively during a rehearsal at the performing arts center at Fairmont High School. Fairmont High School’s junior high theater program has its only play of the year showing today and Friday.

FAIRMONT– Fairmont High School’s junior high theater program will open its only show of the year on Thursday. Seventh and 8th grade students will perform “Rumpelstiltskin, Private Eye,” a humorous story set in the world of Grimm’s Fairytales.

The performances are co-directed by Helena Johnson, an art teacher at Fairmont Elementary School, and the district’s orchestra director, Katie Hoaglund.

“It’s kind of a modge-podge of a whole bunch of different fairy tale characters put together,” said Johnson.

In the play, Rumpelstiltskin plays a detective who tries to figure out who broke into the Three Bears’ cottage but quickly discovers other crimes seem to be sweeping through Fairytale Land. During the play he is assisted by his wise-cracking partner Ugly Duckling and meets characters from a variety of classic stories.

The script was written by Todd Wallinger and distributed by Pioneer Drama Service. Johnson and Hoaglund selected it because they were searching for a humorous performance which fit within the play’s production constraints.

“All of the plays we were looking at were fractured fairytale-type plays; definitely light-hearted, goofy and not super serious; something that would get the young actor involved and excited about their part,” said Johnson.

Altogether 23 students are involved in the production. This year’s cast is largely familiar with drama from similar performances.

“They seem to be having a really good time; the hardest part is always learning lines but other than that they really seem to be on top of their work,” said Johnson.

The show has been in the works for just over a month; auditions were held on Jan. 5 and rehearsals began on Jan. 9.

Johnson said participating in theater programs boosts students interpersonal and problem solving skills.

“Theater … helps with students’ self esteem or self confidence, it helps with public speaking skills. They learn how to project, they learn how to put emotion into what they’re presenting and it also helps them think on their feet,” said Johnson.

Members of the cast said they enjoyed depicting the play’s comical fairy tale characters.

Landon Traetow plays two characters; the Big Bad Wolf and Bossy, one of Snow White’s dwarves.

“As the Big Bad Wolf it’s kind of fun because he acts like he’s a big cool guy and then (when playing) Bossy you just are really bossy to people,” said Traetow.

Bella Coan plays a humorous interpretation of Snow White.

“I really like the fact that I talk too much and I normally do that, I really like the Snow White story, and I think it’s really fun to play my character,” said Coan.

Hailey McConnell plays one of Cinderella’s stepsisters.

“I really like Cinderella. I used to watch Cinderella all the time when I was little so it’s nice being the character in this scene. I’m also pretty rude to some people,” said McConnell.

Although they enjoy playing their characters, members of the cast also said the ultimate highlight was working with their peers.

“I think it’s really fun working with everybody. I feel like everybody is just such great people to work with,” said Coan.

“I like the people involved in it, they make it a really nice community,” said McConnell.

Performances of “Rumpelstiltskin, Private Eye” will be performed at 7 p.m. today, and at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17 at the performing arts center at Fairmont High School.


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