News Column

The magic of 'Bunnicula' comes to Parkview [Daily Record, The (Wooster, OH)]

December 1, 2013

YellowBrix

WOOSTER DISTRICT -- When a big, furry bunny got let out of the bag on the gymnasium stage at Parkview Elementary School in front of an audience of teachers and students, it turned out to be their classmate, Owen McConnell.

Describing his costume as "hot and sweaty," it was his only complaint about his role in Barberton's Magical Theatre Company production of "Bunnicula," the tale of a family's adopted pet bunny that is part Dracula.

Owen is in the traveling show, his mother, Jessica McConnell, said, making a pretty rigorous schedule for a third-grader.

In fact, during the first week of school this year, "he had practice every day after school."

He got interested in performing when he and his family saw a Magical Theatre production, she said.

They were alerted to auditions there because of being on the mailing list.

Also a gymnast, Owen "likes to sing and dance and be in the spotlight," his mother said.

In this particular production, Owen, who has also performed in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" with a speaking part, doesn't have any lines -- a challenge for a boy who is "a chatterbox " his mom said.

In the "Chocolate Factory" he played the part of the featured Oompa Loompa.

"This time it's very different," she said.

Instead of talking, he reacts to the lines of other actors as "he jumps around and does all these silly things," his mother said.

"He has got to always be listening," said his mom on stage, Deb Lemire, adding, his other responsibilities as an actor include helping with the props.

"I just get out of my cage and hop around," he said, adding, "I love props."

Owen has honed his developing craft by attending two successive Magical Theatre summer camps.

At this point in time, he is certain he would like to continue his acting career.

Principal Julie Frankl welcomed the Magical Theatre troupe to Parkview.

"We appreciate the opportunity we have this morning," she said on Nov. 22."It's not often you get a whole theater production to come to you."

"The extra special piece is that one of the stars of our show is from right here at Parkview Elementary School," Frankl said.

It was also an opportunity, she said, for "learning about character, about setting, and about plot -- all the different pieces that make up the story."

Reporter Linda Hall can be reached at 330-264-1125, Ext. 2230, or lhall@the-daily-record.com.

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