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Thursday, August 11, 2022


The Reichold Art Center's Youth Theater took on a couple of tough projects this weekend and came out winners.
They produced two one-act plays, the first, "Aria Da Capo," by Edna St. Vincent Millay, the noted poet. The production is quite adult in theme, with elements of farce. It is lightly handled by the entire cast – both plays utilize the company's five senior actors. In less professional hands, the short drama could easily fall apart with its oblique and almost surreal dialog in the opening and closing scenes, which surround a middle scene depicting pettiness. However, the humor comes through adding perspective to the whole.
And regarding humor, "The Actor's Nightmare," the second play, comes through with all its wit intact. The "nightmare" in question concerns an actor finding himself on stage with no notion of whom or where he is, and being forced into parts ranging from Shakespeare's "Hamlet" to Noel Coward's comedy "Private Lives." George Silcott glories as the befuddled actor. As he stands on the stage at one point trying to make sense of his predicament, he resorts to reciting the Pledge of Allegiance followed by the alphabet song.
The student actors are both professional and awfully funny. This is their second season. Last year they wrote and produced their maiden effort "What if . . . " The current two plays require much more skill.
The group is gathered from local schools as well as UVI. Denise Humphries of the CAHS drama department assisted Director Andrew Weller in both productions. The students, under their supervision, also designed and made all the sets. According to Nina Farrell, a senior at CAHS, "dedication is everything. We learn so much; we learn to trust each other and ourselves, but it requires dedication and hard work." And its worth it, judging from the success of the group combined with their positive attitudes.
The other actors are Michelle Wiltshire, the youngest at 14, a student at All Saints Cathedral School; Daryl Dore, a sophomore at Wesleyan Academy; Ashley-Ruth Moolenaar who will be attending the University of Virginia this fall, and George Silcott, Jr., a recent CAHS graduate and a member of the group since its inception.
According to one parent, Gwen Moolenaar, "We have never had a group like this in St. Thomas. It's a unique opportunity for the students to learn by doing. The plays they work with have adult themes, and they are challenging. You won't see this company doing "Annie!"
Weller hasn't disclosed their fall season schedule as yet, but their current two shows will be a "hard act to follow."

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