Two performances in Lindsborg this weekend will be the culminating events of a three-week theater camp for young students.
The comedic performance titled "Bugsy Malone, Jr." will feature students exiting first through eighth grade who have been learning the ins and outs of productions firsthand, with the help of organizing entity Broadway RFD. The shows will begin at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Smoky Valley High School Auditorium.
The plot centers around Malone, a neutral party who attempts to bring peace between two gangs.
Competitions between the two involve "splurges," where members shoot silly string guns at each other.
Once shot, victims are frozen and must be carried off stage by the stage crew.
Also intertwined in the story is the lead female character, a rising star receiving help from Malone.
The production was picked due to its many cameo roles, which allowed more students to gain stage experience. In this way, the students applied the knowledge they learned during camp.
"We felt it was important to pick a show for everyone to feel important by allowing them to have the experience of handling any kind of role on stage," said Molly Johnson, show director and past president of Broadway RFD.
The theater camp was in two parts. During the first week dubbed "boot camp," attendees learned about all aspects of theater, including staging, acting, costumes, sets, makeup and other parts. During this time, the students determined what piqued their interest. The second and third weeks allowed them to work towards the performance, whether they were on stage or back stage.
"This is an educational experience for the kids," Johnson said. "It's all about being on the stage and being ready for the curtain call. By giving them small roles, they're going to be experienced later on."
Only having two weeks to prepare and working with a wide range of ages were difficult aspects of the performance. Johnson said the students accomplished their goal of experience, not perfection.
"We don't want to stress the kids out," she said. "The idea is to have a good time and blossom in children that appreciation of the arts and theater."
Johnson said she has seen it happen. Other than three adult directors, the performance is put on completely by the students — from stage props to learning choreography.
"They learned what they liked, and you see their strong points emerge throughout the week," she said. "They really blossomed once we put them in those roles."
Tickets for the 90-minute show are available at the door the night of the performances and are $5 for adults, with children 12 and younger admitted free of charge.
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