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Workshop in Berkeley Springs preps kids for the stage

July 17, 2007|by TRISH RUDDER

"Hi, ho, Robin Hood
He is a hero, brave and bo-OLD
Hi ho, Robin Hood
His tale will now unfold."

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - Singing, acting and wearing a costume are a lot of fun for a group of kids participating in a theater workshop.

A two-week youth theater camp is in progress at the Ice House, where 17 kids between the ages of 5 and 11 are rehearsing for a staged performance.

Margie Griffiths and Brice Williams, the workshop teachers, are leading the kids through the one-act musical, "Hi Ho, Robin Hood," which will be performed Friday at 7 p.m. at the Ice House Theater.

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Early in rehearsal last week, Griffiths directed the kids through the first scene. The kids were positioned into five groups and must move to different areas on the stage.

"I got to tie my shoe - hold on," chimed in 11-year-old Sheila Fizer, who was in one of the last groups to move.

"You can't sit down or you'll miss your cue," Griffiths said to Robin Hood, played by Zack Salman, who was waiting for the scene to begin.

"Everyone, stare at my nose," Williams said, getting their attention, as he showed the kids how to take turns to get each group into position.

It was only the second day of rehearsal, and it will take some time to get it right, Griffiths said.

Griffiths and Williams have been teaching and directing children and adults in Ice House Theater productions for many years.

Williams is the drama and theater teacher at Berkeley Springs High School, and Griffiths is a therapist at Eastridge Health Systems.

The workshop offers positive role models, Griffiths said.

"The theater teaches life skills, such as being able to speak in front of other people. It improves memorization skills and it's fun, and they can act out," she said.

"I love it," Griffiths said.

The older kids learn about theater production in the morning sessions and rehearsals begin when the younger kids arrive, she said.

Aidan McDaniel, 10, who is participating in his second theater camp, said he is enjoying his role as the Sheriff of Nottingham.

"I really like being funny, stupid and evil," he said.

"About 75 percent of the kids have experience in a workshop or a show at the Ice House," and the older members play the more complicated roles, Griffiths said.

Salman, 8, "but I'm almost 9," said he does not know the story, but is looking forward to wearing his Robin Hood costume. He said his birthday is Aug. 3.

Friar Rose Tuck is played by Courtney Beasley, 8. She said this is her first theater workshop and she's having fun, too.

"My costume is a long, brown robe with a belt and a hood," she said.

"They will be cute and in costumes, and the parents will love watching them," Williams said.

Griffiths and Williams have performed in several Ice House productions. Williams wrote and performed in the 2005 holiday production, "Hanukkah Goblins," which was directed by Griffiths.

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