Hawthorne students to present ‘Pinocchio’ to parents, public
Published 9:59 am Thursday, March 31, 2016
In less than a week’s span, Hawthorne Elementary School students have run the gamut of preparing for a play.
Two actors and directors from Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre came to the school Monday afternoon to begin auditions for “Pinocchio,” and after multiple-hour rehearsals after school each day this week, the students will present the play at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Students in third through fifth grades are participating.
Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre is a professional touring theater company based in Barrett and has traveled to communities across the Midwest since 1987. The theater group works mostly in Minnesota, but has also worked in states such as Indiana and North Dakota.
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This is the first time for the group to come to Hawthorne Elementary School, though it has previously been to other schools in the district, said Thomas Squires, Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre actor and director.
Squires said most of the Hawthorne cast has never participated in Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre or any other type of theater production.
He said he was impressed with the Hawthorne students and how easily they are picking up their parts. The company does this show in a new town every week, and he always likes to see how the students make it their own.
“It’s really about the kids,” Squires said. “They come out and work on this.”
Forty-two students are involved in the Hawthorne Elementary School play, whether it’s through acting, sound or lights. Leading the play as the character of Pinocchio is Sophia Brownlee.
Squires and fellow actor and director Deidre Cochran also have parts in the performance. Squires will be Geppetto and Tempesto, and Cochran will be Fox.
Squires said the play is based more on the original version, but is still similar to the Disney version that most people are familiar with.
Danielle Nelson, building clerk at the school, said the experience was funded by school district administration and a grant from the foundation for Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea that Principal Karen Zwolenski applied for.
She said the students are excited in the hallways talking about their upcoming play.
Nelson and school Secretary Darci Rasmussen said they are impressed the theater group has parts for all types of children, whether they are outgoing or shy.
“It’s a good group of kids,” Rasmussen said. “They’re having fun.”
‘Pinocchio’ cast list
Friends and spirits
Pinocchio: Sophia Brownlee
Cricket: Aydan Christensen
Blue fairy: Ava Cunningham
Spirits: Isabella Jahnssen, Kalia Register, Ella Drescher and Shaelee Lambertson
Arlecchino: Callie Brownlee
Pantalone: Veddar Tufte
Capitano: Dirk Fornwald
Isabella: Ava Bremer
Zanni: Gisele Schreiber
Puppet: Sydney Fornwald, Mackenzie Hanson
Cat: Morgan Christian
Badger: Addison Dirkes
Weasel: Erika Saindon
Ferret: Lilly Hyke
Vermin: Madison Whelan, Jennave Gomez and Aurora Cox
Toni: Kaiden Baldwin
Chaz: Jaylee Waters
Spaz: Keygan Lundak
Hooligan: Lydia Loyd, Elijah Jacobson and Aryah Hansen
Farmer: Makayla Hannegrefs-Dahlen
Constable: Tony Luevano
Judge: Paige Becker
Mime: Kimberly Biggins
Paperboy: Jose Navarrete
Waiter: Taylor Larsen
Townsfolk: Jordan Habana, Natalia Torres, Danica Whelan
Directors: Thomas Squires and Deidre Cochran
Geppetto/Tempesto: Thomas Squires
Fox: Deidre Cochran
Lights: Joshua Behrends
Sound: Beau Schreiber