JOPLIN, Mo. —
With an entire cast and crew younger than age 17, director Lisa Wood took on quite a task.
The Joplin Little Theatre offered its summer workshop for children to learn theater techniques, Wood said. At the end of the classes, she allowed the kids the opportunity to put what they learned into action.
“Woolfie” will be presented by the workshop attendees Wednesday through July 29 at the Joplin Little Theatre.
It’s an original play by Sybil Odom, in which the Big Bad Wolf has been put on trial for his crimes against humanity. The play draws on characters from classic fairy tales such as “Little Red Riding Hood,” “The Three Little Pigs” and “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”
Playing the roles of the main characters are Caleb Freeman as Woolfie, David Green as Judge Billy Goat Gruff and Rylea Barlett as the Bailiff.
Although it’s a children’s story, showgoers can expect a full-scale production with lots of comedy, Wood said.
“It’s a play for children, by children,” Wood said. “Adults will be amazed at the quality of the work.”
The kids will get to showcase a variety of theater techniques and aspects they learned through the workshop, from stage makeup to building set pieces.
Wood acquired the rights of the play from Odom, whom she previously interned with. Wood was given the creative license to bring her own flair to the production.
With the ability to add and alter facets of the play, the kids wrote some lines of their own into the script and brought fresh, new ideas to the production. Although “Woolfie” isn’t written as a musical, it will feature a few numbers. The kids decided to add singing and dancing to the play, she said.
“(The kids) have added lines and scenes,” she said. “(They) added some minor characters so more kids are being able to be featured.”
The biggest challenge in this production wasn’t working with the young cast and crew, Wood said, but time management with other various summertime activities.
Working with her young cast has been more fun than many productions she has worked on with adults, she said.
“Kids learn so much quicker than adults,” she said. “Kids are really fast about picking it up and most of them have their lines down.”
She was impressed with the skills the kids acquired and the quality they’ve been able to produce, she said.
“You wouldn’t think children would be able to put it on themselves,” she said. “It’s a full production that happened to be put on by children.”
Want to go?
The Joplin Little Theatre will present “Woolfie” at 7:30 p.m. July 25-28 and 2:30 p.m. July 29. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children 12 and younger. Details: 417-623-3638 or www.joplin littletheatre.org.