Curtain time nears!

Youths learning parts, voice projection to perform in CVSM recital on Dec. 6

Youths learning parts, voice projection to perform in CVSM recital on Dec. 6

November 27, 2005|By BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, about a dozen members of the Young Actors Workshop: Acting Up! gathered to rehearse their director's original one-act play, "The Orb."

The class, part of the Cumberland Valley School of Music, will present "The Orb" Dec. 6 in a recital given by CVSM students.

The play takes place in an art museum and involves a security guard's lunch, thieves and art appreciation.

Director Vicki Gontz gave instruction on stage "business," the movements or gestures actors use to give atmosphere to a scene or to help portray a character.


She also advises the students on how to recover if someone misses a line.

"Protect each other. We all like to look good. Throw a line out to help somebody else," she said. "And when you make a mistake, don't advertise it. Don't chuckle or roll your eyes. Keep going."

Gontz purposely wrote the play without a lead character, she said, "because this gives everyone a chance to shine a bit. There's a dominant personality in each vignette."

With only one rehearsal left before the performance, Gontz encouraged the students to practice speaking their lines over the Thanksgiving break.

"Do your breathing exercises. Push that sound out," she said.

The students said they have learned a lot from her coaching.

Whitney Tatum, 15, a home-schooled student from Shippensburg, Pa., in her first experience on stage, said she is learning about stage business and projection.

"I was never able to project my voice. I'm learning to keep my voice raised and to focus on what I'm doing," said Whitney, who plays Friend 1.

Portraying Thief 2 is Gena Rodriguez, 13, a student at Greencastle-Antrim High School. Gena has performed in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" with the Greencastle-Antrim Players and said that Gontz is teaching her about "pronunciation and speaking loudly and clearly and about stage business."

Connor Smith, 12, of Greencastle, Pa., said he has performed in two other plays with Gontz. The Corpus Christi seventh-grader will wear a tie and button-down shirt for his role as "a nerdish scientist," he said.

While Gontz has performed in or directed 50 shows in the past 13 years, this is her first teaching experience, she said.

"This has just been incredible for me," Gontz said. "I didn't know what to expect. They've surprised me with their enthusiasm and their grasp. They're responsible and well-behaved."

Gontz said she decided to write a play for the class because those available for teens seemed too simplistic or stereotyped. Also, "we needed one with not a lot of set or props, and that would fit into the recital. I didn't write the characters as kids. I wanted to give them a chance to do something different," she said.

Gontz also has written "Encore, Encore" and "Gold Dust Memories," which were performed at Chambersburg's Capitol Theatre, and "Elvis: The Man, The Music," which was performed at Harrisburg's Whitaker Center.

If you go:


CVSM recital, including the presentation of the one-act play, "The Orb."


Tuesday, Dec. 6, 7 p.m.


Tompson Hall on the Wilson College campus.
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