2009-06-13 / Top News

Student Actors Shine in Island School's 'Hansel and Gretel'

By Jane Alexander

In this scene from the school's production of "Hansel and Gretel," (from left) Kyra Kolatski is Gretel; Jeremy Hepker is Hansel; Amelia Roe is Owl; Mackenzie Bean is Dew Princess 2; Dana Roguksa is Dew Princess 1; Molly Tokarz is Echo. (Photographs courtesy of Liz Burt) In this scene from the school's production of "Hansel and Gretel," (from left) Kyra Kolatski is Gretel; Jeremy Hepker is Hansel; Amelia Roe is Owl; Mackenzie Bean is Dew Princess 2; Dana Roguksa is Dew Princess 1; Molly Tokarz is Echo. (Photographs courtesy of Liz Burt) Mission Point Theater was filled this spring with music, colorful sets, and gingerbread men with the Mackinac Island Public School's production of "Hansel and Gretel." All students in grades four through seven participated, and teacher Karen Allen directed the play, which was held May 26 through May 28.

School secretary Barb Fisher estimated 70 people came each night.

"I thought it was just excellent," second and third grade teacher Laura Eisler said. "These kids have come so far and learned so much. Would we have ever gotten up on a stage like that in our youth and sung solos?"

Ms. Allen said students were initially shy about singing on stage.

"It used to be that kids were so scared of singing," Ms. Allen said. "And the more I do this, the more years they're exposed to this, the more they all say, 'I want to sing! I want a solo! I want to do this!' Their confidence level is sky-high."

Students of the Mackinac Island school performed "Hansel and Gretel" Tuesday, May 26, through Thursday, May 28, at Mission Point. Adrienne Rilenge played the witch; Kyra Kolatski played Gretel; Christopher Riggs played Gingerbread Child 1; Hunter Taiste played Gingerbread Child 2, and Talon Greenlee played Gingerbread Child 3. Students of the Mackinac Island school performed "Hansel and Gretel" Tuesday, May 26, through Thursday, May 28, at Mission Point. Adrienne Rilenge played the witch; Kyra Kolatski played Gretel; Christopher Riggs played Gingerbread Child 1; Hunter Taiste played Gingerbread Child 2, and Talon Greenlee played Gingerbread Child 3. The students rehearsed for the play throughout the month of May as a class project, taking trips to Mission Point theater to practice on the stage as much as they could. Costumes were provided through various donations and a $300 grant from the Mackinac Island Community Foundation. Ms. Allen said the costumes are always a favorite part of the play for the young actors.

"Kids love putting on the costumes and putting on that makeup. Even the boys. They say they hate it, but they don't," Ms. Allen said.

The cast included Jeremy Hepker, Kyra Kolatski, Kyle Shunk, Keely Johnson, Jessica Beaune, Emily Modd, Hailey Armstrong, Jacob Chambers, Colton Fisher, Adrienne Rilenge , Meadow Greenlee , Paul Wandrie , Halee Tokarz, Amelia Roe, Dana Roguska, Mackenzie Bean, Rhiannon Jones, Molly Tokarz, Christian Styburski, Christopher Riggs, Hunter Taiste, and Talon Greenlee.

Local artist Pam Finkel and teachers Elizabeth Burt, Kathleen Peterson, and Seth Baker worked on sets and music.

"It was a wonderful play," said Superintendent Roger Schrock. "The kids did just a great job. Karen extracts wonderful things from those kids."

Anne St. Onge, librarian at the Mackinac Island Public Library, was also among those who attended the play.

"It was just a joy to go to," she said. "Karen Allen really does a good job with matching kids with characters. Some of their personalities just came right through when they were up there. It's amazing. They just become the character, and you can tell they really enjoy it. Some of them have come into the library since and I congratulate them and they just beam, they're so proud. The arts do so much for kids. We need more of it. "

The most important thing the children take away from this is self-assurance, Ms. Allen said.

"Kids just do things no one would ever expect them to do, or ask them to do," she said. "It gives them an opportunity to get up there and build up that self-confidence. I'm always impressed with them."

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