Free theater for children this weekend

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By LISA BRITTON

Of the Baker City Herald

A witch, a hedgehog, a greedy mall owner and a sad boy with a scrawny Christmas tree will invade Crossroads this weekend and it's all for the community's benefit.

Thirty-five students from the advanced theater and dramatic productions classes at Baker High School will partake in Storybook Theater on Friday and Saturday.

The free show will begin at 7 o'clock each night at Crossroads Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, 1901 Main St.

Lynne Burroughs, BHS theater teacher, said the students will perform four children's stories: andquot;How the Children Saved Christmasandquot;; andquot;Bony Legsandquot;; andquot;The Hedgehog Who Became a Princeandquot;; and andquot;A Charlie Brown Christmas.andquot;

Developing a short play from these stories is one of their projects for the class.

andquot;They had to select a story, and they have to use all of the words,andquot; Burroughs said.

This often means the stories have narrators, and sometimes bridges, doors and animals contribute just to make sure all words are spoken.

Also, she said they don't use many props or an elaborate set.

Jessica Farley, a junior at BHS and co-director of andquot;How the Children Saved Christmas,andquot; said it was difficult to decide on a story.

andquot;It's hard to find something short, and then we found the perfect one,andquot; she said. andquot;There's only three people who speak. We have a narrator and she'll be reading out of a book.andquot;

Narrator and co-director Shannon Russell-Hasel will read most of the story while actors perform the actions on stage. The story involves the twisted dealings of Mr. Gruntley, who owns the Milkweed Mall and convinces the town's adults to buy lots of gifts for Christmas. One of the children, Regina, rallies the other kids to put a stop to the mayhem and spoils Mr. Gruntley's money-making plan.

andquot;Bony Legsandquot; is the story of a girl who encounters a witch in the forest and is saved from becoming dinner with the help of a talking dog, cat and creaky gate.

The story behind andquot;The Hedgehog Who Became a Princeandquot; is fairly well captured in the story's title and involves poor farmers and a rich king.

In andquot;A Charlie Brown Christmas,andquot; the melancholy Charlie Brown learns about the true meaning of Christmas.

Although the stories are geared toward the youth of the community, Burroughs said that adults like to join in, too.

andquot;Half of our audience is adults every year. We almost always have a full house,andquot; she said.

The performances should last about an hour, with a break for refreshments after the first two plays.

This is the fourth year for Storybook Theater, and many of the actors have participated before.

andquot;Last year I did it and you'd see the little kids paying so much attention to us. It's just like a Christmas present to them. It's for the kids and that's why we do it,andquot; Farley said.

andquot;It gives back to the community,andquot; said Andrew Davis, who plays the Hedgehog.

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The Baker City Herald
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