Sleeping Beauty, rock 'n roll style

Fingers clicked, feet tapped and lines were delivered on cue Friday as students from St. Teresa School polished their production of Sleeping Beauty - rock'n roll style.

Fairies' dresses will double as poodle skirts and medieval musical instruments are accompanied by wraparound, mirrored sunglasses.

The one-hour production will be performed today at Bordewich-Bray Elementary School at 3:30 p.m. and again at 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $5 for adults and $3 for children.

Having slept for 500 years the plot reveals, Sleeping Beauty is awakened by a 1950s musical icon.

"Don't tell the audience who, it's a surprise," said Dan Rezac, tour actor and director with the Missoula Children's Theater.

Rezac, along with his colleague Anne Sisson, arrived at the school Monday. They are one of 22 teams that tour the nation and teach theater.

Following a round of auditions Monday -all 62 of the students who applied made it into the play - rehearsals began in earnest Tuesday.

"We had two days to work on our lines," said Jenny Edwards, a student. "But we didn't get a lot of homework this week because the teachers knew we were working on this."

The rehearsals ran from 3:30 to 7:45 p.m., with a 30-minute break.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, individual parts of the play were practiced and on Thursday and Friday they ran through complete rehearsals.

From the performance of a 5-year-old playing a caterpillar to a 12-year-old playing the King, the rehearsals were going well, Sisson said.

"They are really well disciplined and enthusiastic and that's what's important. The challenge is the repetition. Repetition is the key to getting it right," she said.

Students behind the scene quietly rehearsed lines and dance moves with their friends.

And for those who suffered a bout of stage fright and needed prompting, 12-year-old, Melissa Saavedra, the play's assistant director, carried a 55-page, red binder of the script.

Behind the props were about 15 kindergartners.

They were between stage appearances, but they were not bored. Instead they clapped, rolled and wiggled their hands to the music and silently mouthed the songs.

Playing both a butterfly and a caterpillar, 5-year-old Alyson Christl said that singing was her favorite part of the play.

"It's been quite easy," she said.

Sleeping Beauty is 7-year-old Tylar McCarty's third play. He said he wouldn't be interested in a big role, he just enjoys being involved.

"I don't have any stage nerves, well maybe I do, just a bit," he said.

Principal Madeleine Brennan said that she sat through hours of rehearsals. It's the second year that the children's theater has visited the school.

Each time, Brennan said she is amazed at how quickly the students learn their lines and perfect their roles.

"When you sit through just one practice, in two hours the improvement is amazing," she said. "It's a wonderful experience for our kids. We couldn't begin to give them the sort of theater classes that this provides."

Following Saturday's performances, Rezac and Sisson will head to Brigham City, Utah, for another week of rehearsals followed by a performance.

"It (Sleeping Beauty) is our brand new play. It's a fairy tale that kids can relate to. Anything can happen. We can have 12 caterpillars walking across the stage and that's fine," Sisson said.


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