By Kim Walter -- firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW MARKET -- Audiences are invited to attend performances of two different plays by the Schultz Theatre's Youth Theatre this weekend.
The first show, "Peter and the Wolf," will be produced by a youth acting class at Schultz, consisting of seven students. The ages range from 5 to 14 years old.
Director Yvonne Owens taught the acting class for the past 10 weeks and said it's "been a real joy" to see what the group of young actors has accomplished.
"Of course, they're responsible for learning their lines and all that, but they also had to create the characters on their own," she said. "It didn't come from me, it came from inside each of them."
Owens said half of the cast hadn't acted before the class. Additionally, three of the youth are part of a home-schooled family.
The play, a parody of Anton Chekhov's "Cherry Orchard," gives a glimpse into a child's confusion when faced with the world of an adult.
Though there are several male roles in the show, there is only one male student acting, Owens said. She added that the class usually ends up performing just for family at the end of the 10 weeks, so a full on production, like what's coming up this weekend, will be special for students.
On performance days, "Peter and the Wolf" will last about 30 minutes, followed by a brief intermission, which will give production crews a chance to change sets for the second show, "The Insulting Princess."
This show was done outside of the youth acting class and has only been in rehearsals since March. The cast will consist of nine speaking and five non-speaking roles, made up of youth anywhere from 7 to 14 years of age.
Owens said that although she picked the play "because it was funny," she wanted to point out how relevant the subject matter is. The basic plot tells the story of a princess who insults, or bullies, every boy who comes to court her. In the end, it's not a princess who befriends her, but a common baker.
"It's really timely," Owens said. "With all the talk of bullying in our schools, it's nice to see a different take on that."
Also in this production are male roles played by females. One, for instance, is the role of the king.
"The king is played by this little girl with a huge personality," Owens explained.
Many of the youth participating in both plays are not new to Schultz Theatre, Owens said, and she hopes the program only continues to grow from here.
"I want to see this theater not only survive, but thrive, and it's important that the community gathers behind it," she said. "[Schultz is] the best kept secret in the valley, both for adults and children. We want people to talk about it and come see what we do."
Performances will take place today at 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students and seniors. Call the theater at 740-9119 or visit www.schultztheatre.com for more information.