Diving in to the Classics
There’s a reason why the classics endure and a Clarks Summit-based theater troupe is hoping to prove it while giving area youth the chance to flex their acting muscles this summer.
Ghostlight Productions, known for its annual Shakespeare in the Park event, is hosting its inaugural Underage Theatre this Friday and Saturday, July 25-26, at 6:30 p.m., and Sunday, July 27, at 2:30 p.m. at the Abington Community Library, 1200 W. Grove St., Clarks
While this is the first time that Ghostlight Productions will produce a show specifically for the age 13-20 demographic, the troupe is staying true to its love of the classics. The eleven young adult castmembers will perform “Scenes from Metamorphoses” by Mary Zimmerman, which is based on Ovid’s work.
“When we were looking for a young adult piece, three things really drew me to this script,” said director Rachel Luann Strayer. “One was that it was based on classic myths. I really liked that, being the Shakespeare people, we get to bring something classic to our community. Getting to perform these classic stories and classic myths live allows the young people to see them in a new light and we get to give that to the community as well.”
“I also loved that it is a series of scenes where the teens get to play different characters,” she continued. “It gave flexibility in casting because they weren’t stuck to just one role, they were cast for three or four different parts. It is very much an ensemble piece. I also loved the idea of being able to do it outside.”
One reason why the outdoor aspect proved important to the production is that it allowed the cast to easily use swimming pools, which are central to the play. Usually, Zimmerman’s “Metamorphoses” is performed indoors and troupes need to construct a swimming pool as part of the set for it to be performed correctly.
“There is one scene in particular where five characters are sailors on a ship and a storm hits,” Strayer said. “Poseidon comes in and creates a storm and they all drown. That happens within the larger pool. We have one large pool and then four small kiddie pools off to the side and we play in all of them. The entire script is written to take place in the water or surrounding it.”
Strayer also said that getting to work with young adults over the summer months helps reinforce their desire to participate in school productions, while giving them the chance to perform something that they might not get to otherwise.
“There’s a certain number of plays that are standard for high school productions.,” she said. “There are a lot of contemporary works that aren’t being produced for this age group. This was written in 2009, so it is not very old. It was produced in New York City and Chicago and has a good following. It is a great piece that not many people without the budget can do unless it is outdoors, so it is a unique opportunity for us.”