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Homeschoolers put on plays

The Academy of Arts of Taylors, S.C. wrote, directed and helped students present the dramas at Frederick Church of the Brethren.

The Academy of Arts of Taylors, S.C. wrote, directed and helped students present the dramas at Frederick Church of the Brethren.

January 20, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Frederick, Md. - Almost 100 homeschoolers from Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia performed two plays with religious messages in Frederick on Saturday.

The plays were written and directed by the nonprofit Academy of Arts of Taylors, S.C.

For the second year, the academy helped homeschooling families put on the play. Some Academy members stayed with families.

The academy members are missionaries passing Christian messages onto others. The plays allow the local homeschoolers to minister to the community through the stories they tell, said Robert Mitchell, 17, of Herndon, Va., an actor in one of the plays.

About 54 high school and middle school students and 32 elementary students were in the two plays performed at Frederick Church of the Brethren, organizers said. There were homeschoolers from Frederick, Washington, Montgomery and Carroll counties and Pennsylvania and Virginia.

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The plays culminated a weeklong drama seminar at which students were taught about stage makeup, acting, sound and stage lighting, and other lessons.

More than 150 people sat in the audience to watch the elementary and middle school students perform "Giving Thanks," a play about the pilgrims who first came to America.

High school students then performed "April Morning," a story about a prodigal son, Jeb, set during the Civil War.

Mitchell plays Pa, whom he described as an ill-tempered, hot-headed man who lost two of his children in the Civil War. He is grief-stricken because Jeb, who is essentially a foster son, has also left to fight in the war, Mitchell said.

Brandon Highland, 15, of Frederick plays Jeb, a 14-year-old orphan who considers himself old enough to live on his own, Highland said.

After seeing terrible things in the war, Jeb goes to see Pa, who calls him his son and Jeb is overcome with joy, Highland said.

The play's message is you can't run from the past or a forgiving God, he said.

Highland said he liked working with the academy on the play because, in addition to acting skills, he learned technical skills including stage lighting and sound effects.

The quality and passion the academy members brought to the area and showed when working with the homeschoolers is impressive, said Brandon's mother, Karen.

Stacey Bosdosh, 14, of Frederick, said the work with the academy allowed her to learn how to project her voice, how to direct and other skills.

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