TeenWeek at GSW June 3 – 7

May 23rd, 2013
Youth who will be in grades 8 through 12 next term are invited to attend TeenWeek, a week long theater program conducted by Sumter Players June 3 through 7 from 5 to 7 each night in the Experimental Theatre at Georgia Southwestern State University.  The free program will include instruction in basic acting, stagecraft and other arts including theater tech and makeup as well as preparation of a short play to be presented for friends, family and the general public at the conclusion of the program on Friday, June 7 at 7:30 pm.  The makeup sessions will concentrate on zombie makeup because Just Add Zombies is the play to be presented.

Just Add Zombies is the story of a hapless high school production of Romeo and Juliet.  “Desperate” doesn’t begin to describe this troupe: their parents avoid their shows, their faculty sponsor has fled, and the audience for their production consists of one sleeping homeless woman. When they discover that the sleeping woman is actually dead, the troupe turns her into a zombie so she can join the show and make it a hit with the zombie-loving masses. But one bite leads to another, and soon things spin wildly out of control. When the curtain comes down on this undead Romeo and Juliet, will anyone be left alive?
All registrants are guaranteed a part in the play, but must attend all sessions held Monday, June 3 through Friday, June 7 from 5 to 7 pm in the Experimental Theatre on the second floor of the Fine Arts Building at GSW.  Everyone interested is urged to register online at sumterplayer.org/teen and by e-mail to youth@sumterplayer.org.
TeenWeek is conducted as a free public service for the youth of Sumter and surrounding counties by Sumter Players assisted by students and recent graduates of the GSW dramatic arts program under the direction of Irmgard Schopen-Davis.  It should not be confused with the popular KidsWeek for first through seventh graders to be conducted June 24-28 at the Rylander Theatre.
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The Phantom Tollbooth — Not Just for Kids

April 25th, 2013
The Phantom Tollbooth, Sumter Players production of the stage version of the Norton Juster classic fantasy adventure — sometimes called the modern Alice in Wonderland — is a story for all ages masquerading as a “children’s play”.  As presented on the Rylander stage May 9, 10, 11 and 12 by a large cast of accomplished local performers, the play contains humor, language, situations, problems and circumstances appealing to all levels of intellect and experience. The interplay between concepts, the tension between words and numbers, the divisions and alliances that are made, the enemies who seem to be friends, all of these serve to make a delightful play which will interest children and adults alike.
 
As generations of readers know, Milo, the youngster whose adventure this is, is a bored kid (played by Christopher Gilstrap) with little interest in school, home or any other place.  Presented with a mysterious tollbooth, he enters the Land of Wisdom where with Tock, the watchdog (Adam Brown), he’s forced to think about many new things. Encountering the Whetherman (Sarah Grimes), Milo goes through the Doldrums meeting Lethargarians (Kobe Lewis, Charlotte Schopen-Davis, Kai Lynn Bridges, Christine Manigault, Grace Dalva and Julia Skala) to get to Dictionopolis, ruled by King Azaz (Ron Fross) and guarded by a Gatekeeperr (Passion Thomas).  King Azaz and his brother, the Mathemagician, ruler of Digitopolis (Robert Adams) have a disagreement over words and numbers leading to the banishment of Princesses Sweet Rhyme (Kristin Pair) and Pure Reason (Emily Peacock).  Milo is dispatched to rescue the Princesses from the Land of Ignorance.
Along the journey he meets Word Merchants (Gabrielle Bunch, Laura Fisk, Ryan Mournighan and Cloie Davis), the Spelling Bee (Irmgard Schopen-Davis), The Humbug (Ellen Cotter), The Duke of Definition (Justin Neal), The Earl of Essence (William Searcy), The Count of Connotation (Jeremy Ellenberg) and his Undersecretary (James Schopen-Davis), a Page (Grace Dalva), Kakafonous A. Discord (Alanna Goolsby), The Awful Dynne (Gabrielle Bunch), The Dodecahedron (Natasha Wood), some Miners (Christine Manigault, Laura Fisk and Passion Thomas), the Wordsnatcher (Analaura Navarro), The Terrible Trivium (Hannah Finley), The Demon of Insincerity (Charlotte Schopen-Davis), The Senses Taker (Andrea Nichols) and a bunch of Demons (Kobe Lewis, Kai Lynn Bridges, Julia Skala, Sarah Grimes, Ryan Mournighan, Cloie Davis and Natasha Wood).
The knowledge and skills Milo picks up on his journey help him to save the Princesses. When he must return home, Milo’s sorry to leave his friends– but enriched by his experience, he realizes his attitude towards learning will never be the same — having, among other things, eaten his own words and jumped to conclusions from which a swim in the Sea of Knowledge is the only cure — lessons from which all ages profit.
Directed by Rebekah Martens, The Phantom Tollbooth will be performed at the Rylander Theatre in downtown Americus on May 9 and 10 at 8:00 pm with special Mother’s Day matinees on May 11 and 12 at 2:30 pm.  Reserved seat tickets to all performances are available at the Rylander box office, 310 West Lamar Street in Americus, telephone 229 931-0001 or (tollfree) 1 877 662-2312, and online from rylander.org and sumterplayer.org.  Groups of ten or more receive discounted rates.  Major credit/debit cards are accepted

AUDITIONS SET FOR PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH

March 20th, 2013
Auditions for the Sumter Players production of the youth classic, Phantom Tollbooth, will be held on Tuesday, March 26, Wednesday, March 27 and Thursday, March 28, beginning at 7:00 pm each night in the Experimental Theatre, Room 208, Fine Arts Building at Georgia Southwestern State University.  The March 28 session is exclusively for youth under 15 years of age.
Roles are available for 15 or more persons — most not gender specific.  The more, the merrier. 

Based on the book by Norton Juster, here are Milo’s adventures in the Land of Wisdom where he’s forced to think about many new things. Milo learns of the argument between King Azaz and his brother, the Mathemagician whose disagreement over words and numbers has led to the banishment of Princesses Sweet Rhyme and Pure Reason. Milo is dispatched to rescue the Princesses from the Land of Ignorance. The knowledge and skills Milo picks up on his journey help him to save the Princesses. When he must return home, Milo’s sorry to leave his friends– but enriched by his experience, he realizes his attitude towards learning will never be the same.
Auditioners should expect to perform cold readings from the script, both alone and with others, and may have the option of reciting other material of his or her choice. All persons interested in performing or working backstage are invited to attend. The casting of Sumter Players’ productions is based on talent only without regard for race, color, religion, ethnicity or any other defining characteristic.  Persons under age 18 will need written parental permission.
Phantom Tollbooth will be performed at the Rylander Theatre May 9, 10, 11 and 12.  The Saturday and Sunday perormances will be afternoon matinees with special recognitions of Mother’s Day.

Requests for additional information should be directed to audition@sumterplayer.org.

Exits and Entrances to Preview at GSW

February 20th, 2013
Exits and Entrances, the award winning drama by South African playwright, Athol Fugard, and directed for Sumter Players by South African native, Irmgard Schopen-Davis, will be performed at the GSW Fine Arts Theatre on Friday, March 1 at 7:30 pm.  The performance will be a tuneup for the Players trip to Louisville, Kentucky, to compete in the Southeastern Theatre Conference as the Georgia community theatre representative and will be the last chance for local supporters to see the play performed in accordance with the competition rules.
No admission will be charged, but donations are encouraged to help defray the cost of travel to Louisville the following week.  Attendees also will bid in a silent auction for articles offered by donors to the theater group.  Tickets to the Players’ production of Hairspray at the Rylander will be available as well as subscriptions to the remainder of the 2012-2013 season.  Credit/debit cards may be used for all donations and purchases.
Having won at the Georgia Theatre Conference last October, the cast of Exits and Entrances — Jason Wallace and Ron Fross — will pit their talent against 10 other community theatres from Mississippi, West Virginia, Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky and Alabama in performances taking place March 6-9.  Winners will be announced at a dinner on March 9 with the best play, as selected by a panel of professional judges, going on to a national competition later in the year in Carmel, Indiana.
Exits and Entrances is the story of the relationship between a young man (Wallace) on the threshold of his career as a playwright and an aging actor (Fross) who has reached the end of his career on the stage. The play is based directly on Fugard’s own early formative experiences in South African theatre and the effect that the legendary Afrikaans actor André Huguenet had on him in shaping his own vision of theatre. It is a play in which the young man’s optimism and hope balance the despair and disillusionment of the aging actor. The action takes place in a series of scenes set in various dressing rooms during which the confrontation between two starkly differing realities plays out with humor, pathos and dramatic power. As the prize winning performances by Wallace and Fross reveal, this is a play that is intensely human and speaks to everyone. But, above all else, this is a play that celebrates theatre and its abiding significance. From the two very different perspectives of the young man and the old actor, Exits and Entrances also reflects the search for a theatre of relevance in an oppressive society.
Approaching its 50th season, Sumter Players presents mainstage productions at the Rylander Theatre in downtown Americus — the next being the hit musical, Hairspray, on March 21, 22, 23 and 24.  Reserved seat tickets to all performances are available at the Rylander box office, 310 West Lamar Street in Americus, telephone 229 931-0001 or (tollfree) 1 877 662-2312, and online from rylander.org and sumterplayer.org.  Groups of ten or more receive discounted rates.  Major credit/debit cards are accepted.

Sumter Players Wins Awards

October 16th, 2012

Sumter Players has again won Best Play of the Community Theatre Festival of the Georgia Theatre Conference — this time with Athol Fugard’s Exits and Entrances. In addition, at the festival held October 13 at Georgia Southwestern State University, Irmgard Schopen-Davis was named Best Director, Jason Wallace won Best Actor and Ron Fross was selected as Best Supporting Actor.

As the winning entry, Sumter Players will represent the State of Georgia at the Southeastern Theatre Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, next March where Exits and Entrances will compete against plays from 10 southeastern states. This will be the second visit by Sumter Players to SETC , having taken Cotton Patch Gospel to the festival in Alexandria, Virginia, in 2003.

A finely drawn drama, Exits and Entrances is South African playwright Athol Fugard’s exploration of the relationship between an aspiring playwright (Wallace) and an aging actor (Fross) against the backdrop of momentous events in mid twentieth century South Africa. The Sumter Players entry along with entries from Colquitt County Arts Center (performing Graceland) and the Averitt Starrs from Statesboro (performing Overtones) was judged by professional evaluators applying such criteria as believable acting, character interpretation, effective movement and pacing, and the total impact of the production. “Exits and Entrances shows that Americus has got talent — lots of it” said Mrs. Schopen-Davis in accepting her award.

Approaching its 50th season, Sumter Players presents mainstage productions at the Rylander Theatre in downtown Americus — the next being Arthur Miller’s award winning drama, The Crucible, on November 8, 9, 10 and 11. Reserved seat tickets to all performances are available at the Rylander box office, 310 West Lamar Street in Americus, telephone 229 931-0001 or (tollfree) 1 877 662-2312, and online from rylander.org and sumterplayer.org. Groups of ten or more receive discounted rates. Major credit/debit cards are accepted.