Sunday, July 21, 2002
It's easy to guess from the sounds of constant giggling on the stage that the cast of Summer Youth Theater's upcoming dramatic production is filled with "Little Women."
Although the show's cast is a combination of high school boys and girls, the plot centers around four sisters who are trying to grow up. The sisters are played by girls who truly enjoy each other's company.
"We have the closeness of a family," said Piaf Latham-Wintergreen, the show's director. "The plot is so time-enduring, the fact that the sisters had such a special bond."
Thessa Klocke, a senior at Free State High School, plays Jo, the strong-willed, dramatic sister. When she's rehearsing a scene, Klocke said she feels as if she is related to her on-stage family.
"I don't have sisters, and it's really fun to have them," she said.
Latham-Wintergreen said all the cast members have built strong relationships during the six-hour, five-day-a-week practices. Auditions for the show were held in May, but practices did not begin until July 1.
Lawrence High School junior Rachel Hillmer said she enjoyed playing a character close to her age.
"I often get cast as the mother, so it's nice to play a non-motherly character," she said.
Klocke said she thought playing someone her age was more difficult.
"It's more challenging because the character is my age, but I'm a different person," she said.
During the rehearsal of a scene, Klocke's character read expressively from a fictional story she wrote, as her sisters Meg (Hillmer), Beth (West Junior High School ninth-grader Emma Brooke) and Amy (LHS junior Nicolette Weil) listened intently. The ailing Beth leaned weakly on Amy's shoulder ï¿½ until the rehearsal was over, and then Brooke spun happily in circles, causing her dress to billow out.
"I don't think I'm like Beth at all," Brooke said.
Weil said she couldn't wait to perform the show, but Latham-Wintergreen reminded her that then the fun would be over.
"Suddenly it's gone, and you'll have nothing to do at 3 in the afternoon," Latham-Wintergreen said.
But for the next few days, the four girls and the rest of the cast will be eagerly preparing to entertain their audience.
"I'm excited about the whole program," Latham-Wintergreen said. "It's amazing how the last week of production everything totally comes together, and that affects the kids' acting forever. It strengthens their belief in the moment."