A talented cast of three Windy City Players actors entertained and performed “Sleeping Beauty” for students in grades Pre-K through 4 at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School. Cast members Hannah Williams, Thomas Tong, and Emily Dyer told their version of the well-known fairy tale woven with audience participation and many laughs.
“It was really funny,” said 1st grader Thomas Reichert. “They were telling jokes and being goofy.”
The performance aims to do more than entertain those in attendance. Hidden themes of good character and friendship are laced throughout.
“The overall theme of our version of “Sleeping Beauty” is to be good to all people and to never take advantage of anyone,” said Tong. “I hope kids leave the show with the idea that friendship is the strongest bond.”
Friendship is also something that can form quickly as Williams, Tong, and Dyer discovered. Williams is from Chicago, Dyer from South Carolina, and Tong from Kansas.
“We met each other only two weeks ago,” said Williams “but we mesh really well. The casting director of Windy City Players goes to the extreme to put together acting teams that have similar interests and goals.”
Goals of teamwork were also promoted in the show through audience participation. A game of ‘telephone’ was attempted however the phrase “The positively true and factual events of the real live girl who would become to be known as sleeping beauty” was lost among student translation and crowd laughter.
“The students were trying to remember and mimic the long title which only produced giggles, and requests to repeat,” said 1st grade staff member Lori Miguel. It was great to see them trying to help each other, even though they weren’t quite sure themselves.”
The 45-minute performance was not only enjoyable to watch, but also to give. According to 3rd grade teacher, Jennifer Kleber, her students liked the Windy City Players’ rendition of “Sleeping Beauty” better than the movie. They also liked how during the play, with the direction of Tong, they attempted to perfect a crowd ‘Wave’.
“There is no doubt how kids feel when we perform,” said Emily Dyer. “Kids are honest and generous with their reactions. Their excitement is contagious.”
Excitement and stamina is exactly what these three budding actors need as they are set to perform roughly 130 shows total in only two months.
Miss Widner, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton principal was thankful for the opportunity. “Today was a wonderful chance for students to enjoy Fine Arts and see live theater in action.”