News Column

Spotlight: Youths perform 'Adventures of Tom Sawyer'

August 28, 2014

By Josh Kendrix, Appeal-Democrat, Marysville, Calif.

Aug. 28--This coming weekend is a big one for some area youths.

The Acting Company will begin its production of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" on Friday; the play is the culmination of a summer many youths spent participating in The Acting Company's Summer Theater Workshop.

"Each year, we do a show where the kids get to take over the main show," said Carmen Smith, who is co-directing "Tom Sawyer" with Dianna DeLashmutt. "The main show is mostly for adults, while Magic Theatre shows have to share the stage with the main show."

But with the Summer Theater Workshop program, "they have the whole stage to themselves."

The stage version of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" closely follows the Mark Twain novel. Tom Sawyer (played by Andy Hayes) and Huck Finn (Peyton Hathaway) are two friends living in the fictional Southern town of St. Petersburg.

Tom is infatuated with Becky Thatcher (Mackenna Hathaway), who is new in town. But Becky rejects his advances.

That night, Tom and Huck go to the graveyard, where they witness Injun Joe (Elijah Hanson) murdering Dr. Robinson. Muff Potter (Gannon Koranda and Joshua Tombs) is accused of the murder and goes on trial.

Instead of testifying at the trial and clearing Muff Potter's name, Tom and Huck instead decide to run away and become pirates.

"It was really based on Mark Twain himself," Smith said. "Tom Sawyer is based on the kind of kid Mark Twain himself was."

Because the play is based in the deep South, "The kids had to learn new subsections of the English language and make that old style of speaking come to life," Smith said. The play is "kind of like the Shakespeare of the South."

Also in the cast is Lily Eichner as Mrs. Thatcher, Tessa Simeroth as Aunt Polly, Chancellor Poma-Sweet as Joe Harper, Petra Nabi as Amy Lawrence and Aiden Hayes as Judge Thatcher.

Many of the cast members have appeared in previous Magic Theatre productions and some are nominated for Elly Awards for their performances. The Elly Awards will be presented on Sept. 7 in Sacramento.

"This is a good way to celebrate going back to school, and it's good for families," Smith said. "There's plenty of action for guys and girls; young and old will like it."


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Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)

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