Kids to debut play today after week-long camp

First Posted: 7/10/2009

An abundance of talent was the biggest obstacle a team of directors faced as it spent the last week helping almost 50 kids prepare for a huge performance of Jack and the Beanstalk today at the Andy Griffith Playhouse at 2 p.m.
Every group of kids has personality, but this group had lots of personality and theyre intelligent kids, said Kyra Koelling, who is part of the duo from Missoula Childrens Theatre that helped train the kids during a week-long camp through the Surry Arts Council that started Monday.
Any obstacle is an outlet to be more creative, she said.
And be creative is what the kids, ages 5-18, have done all week. From rehearsing lines as ninjas, valley girls and cowboys to practicing in slow motion, the group of 47 knew its lines from every angle and was prepared to hit the stage full force when it wrapped up its final day of camp yesterday.
Each year, directors with Missoula Childrens Theatre headquartered in Missoula, Mont. arrive to different communities in each of the 50 states, Canada and 16 other countries days before a theatrical debut, cast local children for roles, teach them their lines and rehearse.
Im most excited about performing in front of the large audience, said Machelle Earls, 10, who is participated in Missoula for the first time this year. Im not nervous, Ive let go of all of my embarrassment.
Earls is one of the merchants looking to buy Jacks beloved cow, Milky White, and her role includes singing and saying one line: Shell make some good steaks!
She said shes looking forward to participating again next year, and getting a larger role.
Its been a really great experience, I want to come back next year, she said. I want one of the big roles, like if they do Mary had a lamb, I want to be Mary. I would really practice and get it and it would be great.
Earls said she decided to audition for the camp because her mom encouraged her. She said her mom thought she had the chops for Broadway. Malcom Malone, 10, said he was encouraged by his mom, too, but he also thought it was a good change to show his comedic skills.
I like to joke and play around, said a barely 5-foot Malcolm, who is portraying the ghastly tall giant. With his castmate, Gentry Williamson, portraying Jack as a miniature puppet during the scenes Malcolm is on stage, it helps give him the taller appearance he needs for the character.
Typically, Missoulas plays have a twist on classic childrens stories and this includes the giant being portrayed with a rock star edge, which suits Malcolm.
I get to sing solo, he said with a smirk. This year the giant is going to be cool, hes rock and roll. I usually sing in groups, but Im excited about doing it on my own. This is the most fun Ive had at Missoula.
Machelles outgoing personality and Malcolms humorous demeanor are what make this group of kids particularly special, said directors Kyra Koelling and Liz Pascoe.
The biggest obstacle this week is that the kids are so talented we have to try and fill our time because they dont have reworking scenes, Pascoe, said smiling. Obstacles? Thats hard to say with this group.
Everythings went really well this week, we were way ahead of schedule, Koelling said. Im really impressed with all the different kids and their talents and their attitudes. They all really want to do a great show.
The show starts today at 2 p.m. at the playhouse. The performance is open to the community, and tickets are $5 each or free with Surry Arts Council season pass.
For more information, call the Surry Arts Council at 786-7998.
Contact Erin C. Perkins at [email protected] or 719-1952.

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