PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

July 25, 2013

Area kids get a taste of theater

PORT ARTHUR — During the first couple of days, the Children’s Education Little Theatre (CELT) campers were dubious.

“They were kind of shy,” said director Rhiannon Pletcher. “They didn’t want to stay.”

Two weeks later, that is no longer the case.

“Every day since, they don’t want to leave,” said Pletcher, 17.

The Nederland High School junior has been involved with the Port Arthur Little Theatre’s interactive summer camp since its inception in 2010. This year’s edition began on July 15, with children ages 5 to 15 getting immersed in every aspect of theater — be it technical, costumes, set design or acting. As an aspiring theater teacher, Pletcher has enjoyed the experience of directing this year.

“This has definitely helped me get a taste of what I’m going to see as an adult,” she said. “It’s a feeling like no other to see a kid excel in what they’re doing, and to know that you helped that.”

The camp’s efforts will culminate with a production of “Story Stew: A Fairy Tale Revue,” a twist on the timeless fairy tales that puts beloved characters such as Goldilocks, Hansel and Gretel, and Little Red Riding Hood all under one roof and forces them to work together to solve their collective problems. Due to the extensive cast, each of the 49 campers has a speaking part, Pletcher said.

“We knew it would be a fun one for the kids to do,” she said.

Riley Rawls and her three siblings are a testament to that. The Groves homeschoolers frequently appear in plays at their church, but this is their first year to attend CELT— and they are loving it.

“I love acting,” Riley said. “I like getting to have different expressions.”

Riley’s role in “Story Stew” comes fairly naturally to her — she plays Jill, of “Jack and Jill” fame.

“I get to have an attitude,” the 12-year-old said, grinning.

Riley’s twin brother, Reese, is enjoying terrorizing his younger sister, Raysi, 10 — he plays the Big Bad Wolf to her Little Red Riding Hood. His youngest sister, 6-year-old Raney, is playing the role of Gretel.

“Story Stew” will be presented twice on Saturday, July 27 — first at 11:30 a.m., then again at 2:30 p.m. — at Port Arthur Little Theatre, 4701 Jimmy Johnson Blvd. And it isn’t only the children onstage who will find themselves entertained.

“Normally kids get restless during shows, but this is a show that a kid will sit down and watch,” Pletcher said. “It’s definitely going to be a very funny show.”

Tickets are $5 and can be reserved by calling 409-727-7258.

Email: ecallahan@panews.com

Twitter: @ErinnPA

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