(Posted 9 p.m., Feb. 16)
Missoula Children's Theatre production of Pinocchio a
By Fred Sherwin
gets fitted with an extra long nose after telling a fib during the Missoula
Children's Theatre production of Pinocchio at Beatrice-Desloges on Saturday..
Fred Sherwin Photo
year for the past 15 years or so, the Missoula Children's
Theatre company has come to Orléans to plant the
joy of live theatre in the hearts of budding young actors
and actresses between the ages five and 18.
Some of the previous productions include
"The Wiz of the West", "Sleeping Beauty"
and "Betty Lou and the Country Beast".
Missoula Children's Theatre company is based out of Missoula,
Montana. They specialize in so called "pop up"
theatre and are a throw back to the days of travelling
theatre companies that would go from town to town and
enlist locals as actors and stage hands.
of the the theatre company spread out across North America
in pairs with a trailer load of costumes, props and backgrounds
in tow. They work with local residents who secure a venue,
promote the production and send out a call for auditions.
takes place over the course of a week. The auditions are
held on a Monday, followed by rehearsals all week long,
culminating in back-to-back performances on the Saturday.
that the cast can be as large as 60 players, many as young
as five years of age, it's very much an exercise in organized
chaos. The process can be very intense, but the result
can be incredibly rewarding with a strong emphasis placed
on having fun.
year's production of Pinocchio, held at Ecole secondaire
Bèatrice-Desloges on Saturday. was not only fun,
it was also wonderfully entertaining thanks in large part
to Charlotte Rodgers who was perfectly cast in the lead
role of Pinocchio.
lanky Grade 7 student was all arms and legs in one of
the most physical roles I have seen on an east end stage
since I started covering local theatre over 10 years ago.
was so impressed with Rodgers' performance that I thought
she was one of the two professional actors/instructors
who direct and act in the show. It was not until I double-checked
the program that I realized she had to be one of the kids
who auditioned. (Note to the Missoula Children's Theatre
company: keep an eye on this one.)
Gepetto, played by Missoula Children's Theatre
company member Blaire Smith, reads a telegram
while Pinocchio, played by Charlotte Rodgers,
and the Blue Fairy, played by Emily Millan,
Fred Sherwin Photo
two Missoula members who took this group of 60 talented
young actors between the ages of five and 18 and created
magic in less than a week were Blaire Smith, who doubled
as Mrs. Gepetto and Stromboli, and Rachel Bailey, who
directed. Their efforts paid off in the most entertaining
production to date.
course, they had a wonderful cast to work with, starting
other lead actors did a superb job in support starting
with Emily Millan, who played the Blue Fairy. The role
of Jiminy Crickett was played by Sydney Maloney, while
Natalie Millan and Trista Willbond played the parts the
Fox and the Cat. Last but by no means least the role of
Candlewick was played by Monique Staples.
was also very much impressed by the group of girls who
played the street urchins. Anne Boskill, Sabrina Chan,
Isabelle Gahimbare, Jillian Kimbell, Amy Lowson, Julia
Millan, Jenna Rupp, Abby Saint-Yves and Kaitlyn Scheiman
were all in fine voice -- again, a tribute to Smith and
Bailey who knew enough to group them together.
Buhrmann, Lucas Guertin, Benjamin Millan and Samuel Pearce
played members of Candlewick's crew and Alexandro Molino,
Brianna Orange and Maita Saunders all played puppets,
while the youngest members of the cast provided the cuteness
factor as toy soldiers, baby dolls and ballerinas.
out behind the scenes were Connor O'Keefe and Jessica
Livingstone, while Suzanne Enright-Martin accompanied
production was filled with little eccentricities that
Missoula is famous for such as the use of telegrams to
advance the plot line and occasional interactions with
hoping Missoula continues to find a home in Orléans,
if only for one week every February, and that budding
young actors continue to take advantage of this rare and
story was made possible thanks to their generous support
of our local business partners.)
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