Cooper thespians stage performanceA troupe of thespians tackles the big stage for the first time next week. Members of the Cooper Drama Group perform “Faith” at 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday in the Superior High School Performing Arts Center.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
A troupe of thespians tackles the big stage for the first time next week.
Members of the Cooper Drama Group perform “Faith” at 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday in the Superior High School Performing Arts Center. Dustin Anderson, a Title I teacher at Cooper Elementary School, wrote the original script. It follows a girl named Faith who starts out treating others poorly, then has a change of heart.
“It’s a life story,” said Kaitlyn Kratsch, 9, who plays the part of Angel, one of Faith’s friends. “It’s a real-life situation.”
Baylee Berggren, 11, plays the role of Bethany, one of the girls to whom Faith is unkind.
“I have had personal experiences like this,” she said, and she can relate.
Anderson, who coaches the club, said the piece does not reflect his own school years.
“I would never want people to be treated that way,” he said. But the overall message, Anderson said, is “People can change; people do change.” They can go from being unkind, he said, to really appreciating life.
In the pivotal role of Faith is fifth grader Jaylynn Glaus. She trips students in the lunch room, sneers at Bethany and members of the newspaper club and orders around her followers, played by Kratsch and Jennifer Nummi, 11. But she wistfully talks with her former teammates from the swim team, played by Ellie Westlund, Zach Leno and Alicyn Parkinson. Fifth grader Lauren Raboin plays Pinky, a guardian angel who helps Faith see the error of her ways.
“I am proud of all the actors but Jaylynn is the solid piece of this puzzle,” Anderson said. “She holds her character throughout the play as someone who just treats people poorly. She needs a quick shake from those around her to realize that life is more than image and awards.”
Cast members said the play, set in a school, is all about the golden rule.
“Treat people the way you want to be treated,” Baylee said.
About 27 Cooper students in grades 3-5 have given up their lunch hours, recess and Sundays to learn lines and blocking. In return, they get the chance to perform.
“I like acting because you get to pretend to be a new person,” said Maya Sickler, 9, who offers to be Faith’s friend after she changes her ways. Other thespians called the acting group “fun” and “really cool.” But, Kaitlyn said, “you actually have to put work into it.”
The show has minimal scenery and props. Imagination and the talent of the young thespians sets the scene. The focus of the play is for students to experience theater and all of its components. Drama at this level, Anderson said, stresses working as a team, helps student concentration and promotes creative outside-the-box thinking.
About 150 people saw the group’s first performance last year at Cooper Elementary School — a series of improvisational scenes developed by the students themselves. By moving to the high school, players hope bigger audiences will stop by for the show, which is free. For them, this is only the beginning.
“They’re already trying to think of a play for next year,” Anderson said.