On several warm September evenings in Hogansville, Georgia, children and adults from West Georgia Children’s Theatre gathered backstage in the newly renovated amphitheater. Audiences set up lawn chairs and blankets to view an impressive display of performing arts, a night of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Many of the young actors were not yet old enough to have read the work in school.
An awesome display of performing arts by the children of West Georgia Children’s Theatre
The set was both attractive and unique. Titania’s bower figured prominently, adorned with flowers and serving as the focal piece in a bamboo forest theme. There was a distinct up-close-and-personal feel to the performance as the actors took the story out into the audience. Natural trees and wildlife contributed to the wooded setting, where Oberon and Titania held sway over mischievous elves and faeries.
Tony Pender, a guest director at West Georgia Children’s Theatre, gave Shakespeare’s tale a unique presentation by splitting the traditionally single role of Puck between two young actors. The two faeries vied for Oberon’s favor separately as Puck and Robin Goodfellow. This provided not one, but two young boys the opportunity to play the difficult role.
Oberon and Titania each had their own courts of elves and faeries. Authentic Renaissance dances with names like “washer woman” and “peas brawl” blended with the Athenian garb of many of the actors, honoring both the traditional Athenian setting of the play and Shakespeare’s era. The music was Renaissance style, with the youngest actors singing the lullaby written by Shakespeare for this play. All in all, an impressive performance by West Georgia Children’s Theatre, especially considering the age of the actors.
West Georgia Children’s Theatre offers a superior performing arts education
The children of West Georgia Children’s Theatre range from early grade to high school. For most, A Midsummer Night’s Dream was their first opportunity to explore the language and storytelling of Shakespeare. They learned through many weeks of camp and classes. It paid off in an excellent display of performing arts skill. The children showed comprehension of what many seasoned actors and theater groups consider most difficult.
Thanks to West Georgia Children’s Theatre, performing arts displays are not a rare event in Hogansville. Mid May saw a performance of Oliver and November and December promise Arsenic & Old Lace and Cabbage Holler Christmas.
West Georgia Children’s Theatre offers fall and winter performing arts classes as well as summer camps for all levels covering acting, dance, sound and lighting design, scene painting and voice and music instruction. Founder and artistic director Erica Nashan’s stated mission for WGCT is “To educate young artists and inspire creative innovation through interdisciplinary Theatre Arts training and collaborative, community-based production.” All instructors at WGCT bring an impressive amount of performing arts training to bear in their teaching roles. This includes acting, music and dance careers as well as other complimentary teaching experience.
For ticket information and class sign-up, call 706-884-8361.
West Georgia Children’s Theatre is located at 402/404 East Main St. in Hogansville, GA.
West Georgia Children’s Theatre Web site