The Mount Airy Library’s Young Actors Workshops opened earlier this week to once again offer aspiring performers a chance to express themselves onstage. According to workshop director Angela Lewellyn of the Mount Airy Library, these workshops have traditionally been conducted in addition to a young actor’s camp held each summer before school starts.
This winter participants will not only learn the craft through acting in scenes but will perform an entire play titled “And the Moral of the Story is” written by Brack Lewellyn. Angela Lewellyn said the play is a retelling of Aesop’s Fables. She is staging this show during the library’s winter carnival on Jan. 26 at the library. The effort is also in connection with the Bright Star Theatre visiting the library on Jan. 29.
Bright Star Theatre’s production of Aesop’s Fables is set to start at 4 p.m. and will include fast-paced, high energy takes on classic tales including The Fox and the Grapes, The Tortoise and the Hare and The Boy Who Cried Wolf.
“I wanted the kids to be familiar with the stories Bright Star will present so they could later talk with them about the stories in a workshop … following the performances,” said Lewellyn.
During the workshop on Tuesday, 9-year-old Jordan Hearl sat in a metal chair facing Lewellyn, waiting for instructions. She said she became interested in acting by participating in church Christmas plays. The young actor’s workshop was her first audition.
“This is just something I wanted to try,” said Hearl. She added that she had been involved in a church drama team for two years. She said she knew about Aesop’s Fables and also loves to draw so if she can’t act she hopes to help with the stage.
Veteran actor Olivia Jessup appeared relaxed as she waited for scripts to be passed out. In a field where performers are characterized as loners, Jessup values the strength of an ensemble.
“I like bettering myself,” said Jessup. “I get to help people out who are new and that will give Angela actors for shows later on. I like playing different characters. Friends of mine are involved with shows at the (Andy Griffith) playhouse but it’s such a big audience there. I like a smaller crowd and whatever I get to do I want to play it to the best of my abilities.”
Another fresh face at the workshop opener was William Wharton, who played Ralphie in the Surry Arts Council production of “A Christmas Story.” Wharton said he also played Ben Gunn in a production of “Treasure Island” and can list off theatre camps, directors and instructors he has worked with like a professional. His gaze was direct, eyes taking in details. His tightly buttoned pea-coat seemed a symbolic barrier to the energy the young actor has at his command.
“There are lots of animals in these stories so you’ll have to do a lot with body language and your voice,” explained Lewellyn. “There are lots of activities other than acting and they’re all guaranteed to be fun.” She said some of the animal characters in the play would include a fox, crow, tortoise, farmer (and his wife), a hunter and a woodsman.
The workshops will continue Tuesday afternoons for the rest of this month. Another activity slated by the library is a Creative Writing Workshop for middle school students through adults on Jan. 28 at 6 p.m. at the library.
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 719-1952.