Reader’s Theater brings books alive
By Sue Ellen Ross Post-Tribune correspondent December 5, 2012 4:20PM
The cast of “Alice in Wonderland” rehearses for the Lake Central Theater Company’s “Reader’s Theater” production, set for performance Friday, Dec. 7, 2012. | Photo provided
IF YOU GO
◆ Reader’s Theater
◆ 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7
◆ Lake Central High School Auditorium,
8400 Wicker Ave., St. John
◆ Tickets: $5, available at the door, audience limited to 50
◆ For more information, email Pam Neth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visitors to the next show presented by the Lake Central Theater Company won’t find actors in full costume, electric sound effects, props or a set. What they’ll find instead is a Reader’s Theater performance of “Alice in Wonderland,” “Treasure Island,” and “A Christmas Carol.”
“Reader’s Theater is a reading of each play in about 30 minutes apiece,” said director Pam Neth. “The actors must bring the play to life in the audience’s minds through their vocals, facials, and narration of the story.”
Those taking the stage are members of Lake Central High School’s advanced theater classes.
“We like to refer to this experience as theater unplugged,” Neth added. “We have 23 students involved in the three plays, with many actors playing more than one character.”
This type of theater, new to Lake Central, allows the students to learn various performance styles.
Senior Richanne Matthews, 18, will portray several roles in “A Christmas Carol.”
“The hardest part for me is working with the different levels of talent and trying to help everyone get to the same level to have a great show,” she said. “But I like the variety of people in the play. Everyone has the opportunity to play a bunch of different characters, so it shows everyone’s full potential.”
Alex Tinklenberg, 18, will take the stage as the door mouse, king and sound effects guy for “Alice in Wonderland.”
“This play is fun and it appeals to all ages — and I love being a king,” the senior said. “But you can’t really act (in this play) with your body, so your character depends strictly on your voice.”
Lauren Bourget, 17, will appear as Dr. Lizesey and Johnny the Pirate in “Treasure Island.”
“This play has more adventure in it with cool props, and I love being able to be a pirate and work on my ‘pirate voice’,” the junior said. “The most difficult part for me is having to play a male role.”
Maxwell Hogg, 18, will perform as the Blind Pew and Long John Silver in “Treasure Island.” According to Maxwell, his first role of Old Pew appears as the second pirate sent to Bill Bones to receive the map to find Flint’s Treasure. Long John Silver is the leader of the mutineers who attempts to manipulate Jim to help him achieve his goals.
“I really enjoy the story of ‘Treasure Island’. It features many unique characters that make the show interesting,” the senior said. “Also, I enjoy the struggle between good and bad, represented through the actions Jim Hawkins takes.”
The hardest part of the production would have to be character voices, he added.
“Since this is a reader’s theater version of ‘Treasure Island,’ all the characters are seated. It’s a challenge to make your lines sound engaging and interesting. If all the character voices weren’t worked to the best they could be, we would end up just being a couple of people on a stage saying lines.”
The role of narrator in “A Christmas Carol” will be filled by Brianna Mamelson, 17.
“I decided to join the class because I love theater and this is a way to expand my acting and directing abilities,” the junior said. “My favorite part of the show is being able to paint a picture with words. My role as the narrator is to fully describe everything that is going on that you really can’t see, like the different location changes. I love to be animated and try to make the audience see the different places, even though they can’t physically see it.”