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The Dispatch

The student news site of James Bowie High School

The Dispatch

The student news site of James Bowie High School

The Dispatch

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Starlight Theater Company brings children’s shows to life

BIG+BAD+WOLF%3A+Junior+Milo+McKinney+scares+fellow+actor+sophomore+Charlotte+Schwarte%2C+who+plays+grandma+in+their+show%2C+Totally+Red.
Zach Tishgart
BIG BAD WOLF: Junior Milo McKinney scares fellow actor sophomore Charlotte Schwarte, who plays grandma in their show, Totally Red.

Tip-toeing into pages full of exquisite creatures, colorful trees, fairytale princesses, and endless curiosity, theater students present their annual Theater For Young Audiences shows. Seniors end their final year directing their own show and collaborating with other schools within AISD. Senior directors have the chance to showcase their productions to at least two local elementary schools, along with two more shows at Bowie.

RED RIDING HOOD: Sophomore Amelie Baker and junior Milo McKinney perform out to the audience. (Zach Tishgart)

“What is super special about the Theater For Young Audiences is that each individual show gets to travel to one to two elementary schools each and perform for kids at those schools,” senior director Josy Stevens said. “This is a lot of people’s favorite part about this show-block, as we are extending our program to young audiences, and helping young audiences become passionate about theater.”

Stevens will be directing a fairytale, Rapunzel. Stevens will have a co-director, helping alongside with different aspects of the production.

“I am so thankful to be co-directing with senior Sofia Chavez,” Stevens said. “Having someone to collaborate with on all these different elements has made this process truly magical.”

To create such a magical performance, the directors work relentlessly to get their show to reach fairytale standards. Beginning with the first steps, picking what shows to produce.

“The directing process for these shows is quite extensive, but it teaches the directors so much about what goes on behind the scenes of putting on a show,” Stevens said. “From there, we write synopsis for the shows and put together callback materials.”

Picking the story and writing synopsis is just half of the work the co-directors do in order to prepare the movie-like production.

“We watch all the auditioners, take notes, and select a smaller pool to call back,” Stevens said. “Then we all get together with the directors and theater faculty, and cast our shows.”

With the help of the student directors and cast members, Rapunzel along with many other nostalgic classics are performed to children and getting them involved with the production.

“I’m most excited about touring to the elementary schools because my character talks to the audience,” cast member Olivia Nanda said. “I’m excited to see their reactions and responses to what I say.”

Performing to elementary school audiences gets the cast members excited to perform with the extra enthusiasm that they don’t usually get to act with. Captivating the audience is a must for a magical show. 

“To make the show more entertaining, we play up each scene to make it more dramatic and make our movements big and intentional so the kids stay engaged,” Nanda said. “I am able to make my acting big and cartoonish without having the audience not believe the story.

A story book show like Rapunzel also had a lot of hidden lessons, messages, and meanings that are played out through the duration of the show. The directors and the cast members hope that the children walking away from these shows see the message and maybe learn from it.

“I hope the children leave the show knowing that they are perfect just the way they, Nanda said. “They are incredible, and they should know that they can do anything they dream of.”

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