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Camp teaches kids theater production

 

Aven Matthews, 10, right, plays a fairy godmother while Presley Smith, 12, left, looks on as a reporter during a rehearsal of

Aven Matthews, 10, right, plays a fairy godmother while Presley Smith, 12, left, looks on as a reporter during a rehearsal of "Big Bad Musical." Aven is the daughter of Ashley and Andrew Matthews and Presley is the daughter of Sabrea and Michael Smith of Columbus. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

 

Tre Womack reveals himself as the wolf onstage during rehearsal of

Tre Womack reveals himself as the wolf onstage during rehearsal of "Big Bad Musical" this morning.
Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

 

Johannah Owusu left and Andrew Nation review scripts for the production of

Johannah Owusu left and Andrew Nation review scripts for the production of "Big Bad Musical" at the Rosenzweig Arts Center on Tuesday.
Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

 

 

Isabelle Altman

 

 

The Big Bad Wolf is coming to Columbus. 

 

Specifically, the "Big Bad Musical", a children's comedy about the Big Bad Wolf -- the one from all the fairy tales -- is coming to the Rosenzweig Arts Center Friday, starring 12 local third-eighth graders who have spent their spring break at the Columbus Arts Council's theater camp. 

 

The purpose of the camp is to teach kids how to put a stage production together.  

 

"(The camps will) get kids in the feel of everything that goes into either musicals or plays and the making of them, to putting them in the stage and actually having them performed," camp director Johanna Owusu said. 

 

The kids have spent each day this week from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Rosenzweig Arts Center learning the ropes of theatrical production. They go through the whole process, from auditions, which were held Monday, to a read-through of the play, to set design, to musical numbers, blocking and choreography and of course learning lines and performing. 

 

"They learn how to put the play together from start to finish, talking about props and costumes, everything that goes into it," said Andrew Nation, who handles sound and music at the camp. "Because I think they think you just get up there and you do it, and there's a lot more than that. 

 

The play itself is a "howling courtroom comedy" featuring fairy tale characters, the better to get and keep the kids' attention. 

 

"Basically we put the Big Bad Wolf on trial," Nation said. "All the different fairy tale characters that have been hurt by him over the years show up and they're essentially suing the Big Bad Wolf." 

 

Each child has lines and at least one song they're involved in. They have a week to put it together -- singing parts, speaking parts and blocking, all while learning about set design, costumes and the other behind-the-scene aspects of theatrical productions. 

 

Theater director Chelsea Petty, who teaches drama at Columbus Middle School, gave up her spring break to teach the camp because she wants kids to understand that behind-the-scenes work. 

 

"With a camp like this, the most important thing I want them to learn is appreciation for theater," Petty said. "A lot of people see a play or see a movie and it's entertaining but they don't understand what's actually going into it. One of the most important things these kids can learn is an appreciation for what goes into making a play, into making a movie. It's a lot of work." 

 

It's especially a lot of work for kids putting together a play in one week, she said. Luckily, this year's group of kids are pretty good at interpreting characters and having fun with the play, she said. 

 

"I love the group of kids we have," she said. "They are so much fun. This has got to be one of the best group of kids I've ever worked with working with Columbus Arts Council ... They're creative and are always coming up with new ways to do their characters." 

 

The kids will perform the play for their friends and family at the Rosenzweig Arts Center at 5:15 p.m. Friday. 

 

Owusu herself hasn't seen the play. She's been behind the scenes making sure kids have their scripts, snacks and everything else they need for a week-long camp. She's looking forward to seeing it Friday, but her favorite thing about the camp altogether is seeing the kids learn and have fun. 

 

"Just being able to put together something and continue something (the kids) really enjoy is nice," she said. "...Them having fun and them goofing off is really fun to watch." 

 

Petty agreed. 

 

"I can't think of a better way to spend my spring break," she said.

 

 

 

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