November 04, 1999

Think, think, think about going ...

"Winnie-The-Pooh," presented by Robinwood Encore Players

Friday, Nov. 5, 7 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 6, 2 and 7 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 7, 2 p.m.

Kepler Theater

Hagerstown Community College

11400 Robinwood Drive


Tickets cost $3 for children, $5 for adults. Group rates are available.

Director Dave Dull recommends the play for those 5 and older. It lasts between 90 and 105 minutes, including intermission.

For information, call 301-790-2800, ext. 309, or visit Robinwood Encore Players' Web site at

By MEG H. PARTINGTON / Staff Writer

It's not all that hard to act like a pooh bear, a kangaroo or even a piglet if you can relate to the character.

The personalities created by A.A. Milne in the classic tale of "Winnie-The-Pooh" are being brought to life by Robinwood Encore Players this weekend at Kepler Theater on the Hagerstown Community College campus.

cont. from lifestyle

"I'm just open-eyed and looking for adventures ... naughty and mischievous," says Annie Kraft, 8, while describing her character, Roo. She says she and Kanga's little bundle are a lot alike in personality, and they both dislike medicine.

Ashley Tyler, 11, of Hagerstown, sees some of herself in Pooh's faithful friend Piglet.

"He's a little bit frightened, and I'm like that sometimes," Ashley says. She also likes to follow her friends like Piglet does.

Mike Mason, 32, says playing Winnie-The-Pooh is quite a stretch from his biker image. So is dressing in "Pooh yellow" coveralls, a cutoff red shirt, ears and a painted nose.

But Angie Byers, vice president of Robinwood Encore Players and assistant director of the play, sees some resemblance between the cuddly bear and the lead actor.

"Simple pleasures make him happiest, just like Pooh," she says.

Roy Imler, 26, says when he was a kid, he was more interested in Bugs Bunny than Winnie-The-Pooh, but he fell easily into the role of Eeyore, the quiet, yet depressed, donkey. The Hagerstown resident, who will be on all fours in lavender flannel on stage, says he has a handle on Eeyore's downtrodden voice, though sometimes he sounds more like John Wayne.

One name theatergoers will notice missing from the cast is the bouncing, oversized pussycat, Tigger. He wasn't yet created by Milne when the play takes place.

"Oh, bother," you say? Don't fret.

"People will enjoy it even without Tigger," Dull says. "It's a really cute show. It's very, very, very funny."

Mason has only been doing theater for a little more than a year. His first show was "Charlotte's Web."

"I favor the kids' productions," he says, primarily because he has a 4-year-old son, Alex.

He thought Alex would be the biggest fan of Dad as Pooh, but "He's actually my biggest critic. He's comparing me to the Disney version," says Mason, of Hagerstown.

Ashley is an expert on the 100-Acre Wood and its inhabitants, not only because she was a fan as a young child but because she's been in a "Pooh" musical. "It was really fun. I thought this would be fun, too," she says.

Tod Williams of Hagerstown has taken on the task of outfitting the cuddly characters. He wants to leave room for creative thinking.

"It's going to be obvious it's a person in a costume. We want the kids to use their imaginations as much as possible," Williams says.

That's part of the fun of putting on a children's production.

"Children will use their imagination much more than adults," Dull says.

Other cast members are Kelly Schultz as Christopher Robin; Wendy Imler as Rabbit; LeAnne Stoneberger as Owl; Kimberly Jones as Kanga; and Christopher Jones as the narrator. Other animals of the wood are Jen McKenen, Edward Sullivan, Shane Cruce and Kelli Martin.

All proceeds from the play benefit the HCC amphitheater project.

A child ID area will be set up at the show. Children's fingerprints will be taken, their vital statistics such as height, weight, hair color and distinguishing characteristics recorded, and a photograph will be taken, Dull says. Safety House will be on hand too, where children can learn about 911, kitchen safety and what to do if there's a fire.

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