Kids ham it up at Egyptian
July 22, 2008
Jane Talley turns children into frogs. And, still worse, toads.
It’s what she loves doing, what parents pay her to do: She transforms couch potatoes, wall flowers, TV-watchers, woebegone wet noodles, and some normal kids, into stage actors. This year, Talley, the education director for the Egyptian Theatre Company, is helping stage "Frog and Toad All Year" as part of an acting workshop that started July 7.
The two performances of the stage adaptation to the beloved children’s book about friendship over the course of a year are Friday, July 25, and Saturday, July 26, at 1 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults.
The performances are the conclusion to a three-week workshop for kids ages eight to thirteen. "It’s extremely important right at the top, getting real life experience and learning through performing," she said. "Kids definitely build self-esteem."
Talley said the play is appropriate for all ages. "I think we overlook our younger kids," she said. "I intend to bring my grandson, who is two."
Talley has been with the Egyptian for eight years. She said summer programs remain an important aspect of the nonprofit’s mission to educate young performers and turn them into potential audience members later in life. Classes are small, about 10 students for every teacher, and offer an education in history and acting. "We don’t just have rehearsal," Talley said. "We review stage terms: the wings, the cat walk, the fly space. I like to think we’re educating young actors."
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The Egyptian’s final workshop of the summer starts Aug. 4 and ends Aug. 8. It is divided into two groups, one for kids four to nine and the other for ten- to 14-year-olds. "We have a lot of different levels of experience and talent," Talley said. Older students usually land lead roles, but everyone gets a part.
Talley, who has done post-graduate work in directing and theater, said working with young talent can be tiring. But it has its advantages. "Their energy is amazing," she said. "Even in rehearsals they go full-out. They have a lot of courage. What they lack in experience they make up for in effort."
The Aug. 4 camp will focus on improvisation. For tickets to the "Frog and Toad All Year" or to sign up for a summer workshop, go to http://www.egyptiantheatre.org or call 435-649-9371.