The Highlands Performing Arts Center’s Youth Theater recently performed “A Ghostly Slumber Party” that tackled some serious themes from “The Slumber Party” by Luke Osteen, excerpts from “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe, “The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes, and “The Troll” by T.H. White.
Actors in the Youth Theater played multiple roles in this production that included settings from a young girl’s slumber party, a silent library, a countryside English inn, and a busy hotel in Scandinavia.
Director Megan Potts said the cast did a fantastic job.
“I was so pleased with their performance,” said Potts. “They had a very short rehearsal period and a lot of them are new to this. First, they had to learn the vocabulary and then learn to act the parts. They got a grasp of timing and working with an audience, they did great.”
Editor’s Note: For those of you familiar with Noyes, Poe, and White; think of the language used in those stories. Then picture those lines being delivered by a 10-year-old. These kids did awesome.
Potts said the cast worked hard in the weeks leading up to opening night.
“I think the biggest thing they learned was to work together as team,” said Potts. “When something goes wrong, we work together and support each other.”
Fourth-grader Arabel Alusio would spend hours at rehearsal and then head home to work on her lines to make sure she was ready.
“The lines were difficult, but not too difficult,” said Alusio. “And if someone messes up, we just go along with it, skip that part, move on and pretend it didn’t happen.”
Sixth-grader Vivian Kennedy has acted in several other PAC productions and said it’s hard work, but worth it.
“I like hanging out with all of my friends,” she said. “And when I get on stage, I’m kind of nervous but also excited.”
She said plays sometimes have lines or scenes that actors stress more than other scenes. In the case of “A Ghostly Slumber Party,” Kennedy said there was one line she dreaded.
“I was really worried when I had to stand up and yell ‘That’s not funny Avery,’ but after that it was all good,” she said.
The magic on stage doesn’t happen simply through the powerful performances of skilled actors, there’s a lot more to it. And 7th-grader Max Ballentine knows all too well the highs and lows of a show stationed up in the control booth.
“Things happen in a show, someone could be off their mark or they miss a line and we may need to skip to the next cue,” said Ballentine. “So, we always have to be ready.”
He added things really got tricky during scenes from “The Troll,” a lot of moving parts, lighting cues, to say nothing of the make-up and wardrobe designers had to go through to put together a pretty horrific looking troll.
“I was really worried about the troll,” said Ballentine. “That’s a big part and it’s so intense. There are a bunch of sound and light cues. It’s just a really big thing.”
The PAC Youth Theater is made up of area students from Blue Ridge, Highlands, Summit Charter, Rabun Gap-Nacoochee, and Franklin schools as well as homeschoolers.
The Highlands PAC Youth Theater is possible through grants and aims to introducing children to the wonder of live theater. To learn more click HERE.