TFACs The Mark Twain Show finishes fall tour

Published 4:45 pm Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tryon Fine Arts Centers Arts in Education Fall School Tour finished November 1 with a final performance for the Polk County High School juniors. This was the 13th performance in the eight day tour of The Mark Twain Show sponsored by Aoki Landscape and Design and the Kirby Fund at Polk County Community Foundation.

Two teams each consisting of three high school actors, supported by a five-person road crew, traveled in Polk County and Spartanburg County as well as to North Greenville University, performing for more than 2,500 students ages eight to 18. This is the second year TFAC has hit the road to bring educational theater to the schools.

Last years Shakespeare to Go and this years Mark Twain Show provided theater education on two levels. The format creates an opportunity for students interested in pursuing theater as a profession to experience being in a touring production.

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According to director Marianne Carruth, Performing in different venues has inherent challenges for the actors and the crew changing the set, blocking and technical production to meet the demands of different stages, managing setup and breakdown according to the demands of the tour schedule. The props crew had to adapt not only to different stages, but also to different actors. These students met every challenge with tremendous success.

Cast member Liana Stadelmann observes, This play was truly unique! We were able to play multiple roles and all three of us got to be the main character of the play. I had so much fun and am planning to audition for the tour play next year!

For younger audiences, seeing their peers performing onstage was inspiring. Inman Intermediate School 6th grader Jada Proctor, after seeing the performance at Chapman High School said, I personally enjoyed the play. The sarcasm was amazing. Paul Nelson, a retiree and Mark Twain aficionado who attended the final performance at TFAC, exclaimed The actors captured Mark Twain beautifully they really understood the stories and the satire.

Sundays performance at TFAC brought both teams of actors onstage together to perform one show. After a brief conversation to assign parts, the six actors quickly rehearsed the new show and then performed it seamlessly. According to audience member Connie Clark, Sundays performance of The Mark Twain Show was a delight! The two casts blended wonderfully in presenting the four Twain stories along with segues true to Twains humor. Hats off to six talented kids, a dedicated backstage road crew, and director Marianne Carruth.

At the close of the eight-day, 13-performance tour, stage manager Jody McPherson said, It was a challenge and a lot of fun. It was great working with these students both on and off stage. What a team!