UCP Junior Theatre

Patricia met a Wolf. Stella Luna, the fruit bat, made new friends. A busy Bee disrupted a picnic. Some bad sportsmanship spoiled a hockey game. A Lizard helped decide a talent contest. And Mister Man, Mother Nature and Happy dropped in to visit.

The Junior Theatre drama class, held at Upper Canada Playhouse during the week of July 15 to July 19, demonstrated many new drama skills to a very appreciative audience Friday afternoon, July 19. Under the guidance of actor/teacher Kate Veinotte, the 18 children, ages 5-9, took family and friends on a magical journey into the world of stories. 

“Every story needs characters,” Veinotte said. “We made masks to explore new people we might want to get to know. The students learned the techniques for putting on masks on stage, and for adopting a character.”

Each young performer proudly showed off the mask he/she had made and introduced the audience to this “new” person, sometimes quite an unusual person.

Then the class pointed out that every story needs a “beginning, a middle and an end” and of course a “story needs a problem.”

Showing some wonderful creativity, the small performers proved that a story could grow out of even four completely mismatched objects like a hat, a puppet, a piece of clothing and a single hand prop. The audience thoroughly enjoyed the mini plays that the children put together using only these items for inspiration.

Then it was on to two exciting and often hilarious tales, finales to the performance, and tributes  to the lessons learned at theatre school over a very busy week.

Conor Veinotte, a volunteer for the week, explained to the audience that when Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev wrote Peter and the Wolf, he used instruments like the oboe and the flute to introduce his characters.

“Unfortunately,” Conor said, deadpan, “none of your kids can play those instruments, so we call our version, Patricia and the Wolf.

With their own voices providing the “music” of the story, the children enacted a very unique telling of the classic tale that had the audience thoroughly entertained.

Then the little fruit bat, Stella Luna, fluttered on stage to tell her tale of becoming lost and finding herself in a nest with three fledglings, who definitely thought hanging upside down by your toes was “wierd.” 

However, as Stella Luna and the birds (and quite possibly all the children who enjoyed a wonderful week at Upper Canada Playhouse in junior theatre) learned, “the same or different, we are all friends.”

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