Saline Area Players are gearing up for their production of Lionel Bart’s Oliver! October 20-22. There are 30 kids in the cast. Michael Dineen plays Oliver and Lucia Patti plays The Artful Dodger. Luke Johnson plays Charley. Some of the kids are workhouse kids, poor orphans, who sing the well-known “Food, Glorious Food”. Some are part of Fagin’s gang, an underworld pick-pocket ring and they sing “Pick a Pocket or Two” with Fagin, who masterminds the whole operation. Some are cast in both groups and are part of a full cast number, “Consider Yourself”.
As part of their preparation for being in the show, the director, Rebecca L. Groeb, works with them on defining their characters. In real life, not all kids are alike. The same is true on the stage – each child takes on their own personality, while still singing the songs and acting in the scenes. Some of them choose personalities that are akin to their own, and some choose ones that are a departure from how they are in real life. That’s acting – trying out a new way of thinking and being.
A few of the kids in the show were interviewed to see what they are bringing to their characters. They were asked two questions…. What is your character like? And What do you like about being in the show? Here is what they said:
Maddie Dineen, 5th grader at South Arbor Charter Academy: (Fagin’s gang) My character is very headstrong and bossy. I love the cast and the people are so talented and it is a fun show!
Lucy DIneen, 6th grader at South Arbor Charter Academy: (Fagin’s gang) I’m one of the quieter ones who want to get their work done. Everyone is so different and act and sing differently and show their personalities.
Madeline Fin, 5th grader in Saline: (Workhouse kid) – My character is named “Sophie” – I’m shy and afraid to stand up to Mr. Bumble. She’s also friendly. I like acting when you can be crazy or somebody else.
Campbell Murphy, 5th grader in Saline: (Fagin’s gang) – My character likes to fight with Maddie – I’m one of the youngest, and stubborn. Being in the play, I like to make new friends and see new people.
Rowan Dillen, 8th grader in Saline: (Fagin’s gang) My character is very strong – I like to boss people around. Every single person has a part and it all fits together into the play.
Liam Dillen, 4th grader in Saline: (Workhouse kid) – My character talks back and causes trouble. This is the first time I’ve been in a play – I like singing and acting.
Everett Warila, 7th grader in Saline: (Fagin’s gang) – My character is named “Johnny” and I’m sneaky and persuasive. I like being in the show to meet people and to do theater and singing and dancing.
Luke Johnson, 7th grader in Saline: (Plays Charley Bates in Fagin’s gang) – My character is the class clown and kind of sarcastic at times. He thinks he’s awesome. It’s fun to be a different person than you really are.
Lucia Patti, 8th grader: (Plays The Artful Dodger in Fagin’s Gang) – The Dodger is interesting and complex. He has different sides – older and responsible, and also a younger and caring side. I really like getting to know all the cast members – the experience is awesome.
Nathanyel Sarment, 5th grader in Saline: My character “Nate” has a lot of mischief in him, and he can get shy. He is kind of like a funny guy. I love being in plays because it is fun to learn what people learned back then and what they wore and did. It is a learning experience too.
If you’d like to come to the show, tickets are on sale now, $15/adults and $12 for children 12 years and under. Full details for this show which runs October 20-22 at the Saline High School are on the website at www.salineareaplayers.org