Playmakers’ youth workshop building future, confident actors

Sep 13, 2023 | Entertainment | 0 comments

Students in the first “3-2-1, You’re On – Saturdays” youth workshop perform a short skit. From left are, April Osborne, Brooklyn Benton, Haley Miller, Maddison Calabrese and Jannelle Mitchell. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

BY SHERI TRUSTY

As Brooklyn Benton, 9, of Port Clinton ate chicken nuggets and French fries with her fellow acting students at Playmakers Civic Theatre recently, she talked about some of the things she had already learned in the first of four “3-2-1, You’re On – Saturdays” youth acting workshops.

“You can’t go fast when you’re saying your lines because the people in the audience need to understand what you’re saying. If you talk too low, they can’t hear you, and if you talk too fast, they can’t understand what you’re saying,” Benton said. “The best thing I learned was that you can be in theater at any age. You can be any age and act like you’re 30.”

The “3-2-1, You’re On – Saturdays” workshops are available at no cost to any Ottawa County resident in grades four through eight. The workshops will be held every Saturday in September from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Playmakers Civic Theatre at 604 W. Sixth St. in Port Clinton.

The “3-2-1, You’re On – Saturdays” youth workshops will continue every Saturday in September. Shown here are, from left, instructor Peggy McConnell, Maddison Calabrese, Brooklyn Benton, Haley Miller, Jannelle Mitchell, April Osborne, and instructor Douglas Braun. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

Registration is required by calling 419-734-5044 or visiting www.pcplaymakers.org.

The program presents a sweeping overview of theater fundamentals, such as acting, directing, lighting and set design. The students got a spontaneous jump on costume lessons when they discovered the costume closet at Playmakers and spent the afternoon session doing monologues in long dresses, high heels and wild wigs.

“We didn’t plan to have costumes today, but they found the costumes. So we let them have fun,” Braun said.

The Sept. 9 workshop was attended by Benton, 14-year-old Maddison Calabrese, eleven-year-old Jannelle Mitchell of Port Clinton, eleven-year-old Haley Miller of Vickery, and 11-year-old April Osborne of Port Clinton. Peggy McConnell served as an assistant instructor with Braun. Future classes will be co-taught with Jonnie Myers Debbink.

April Osborne, center, gets help with her wig from Haley Miller, left, and Jannelle Mitchell. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

The first workshop focused on improving acting through monologue. The students took turns reading and re-reading monologues after receiving tips from Braun. Each recitation was stronger and more confidently performed than the first, thanks to Braun’s instruction and the fun, relaxed atmosphere in the class.

The workshop ended with a group reader’s theater performance of “Rock, Paper, Scissors.” Mitchell read the main character’s part twice. Her second performance far outshone the first.

“I just followed their advice to speak up more,” she said.

All of the students walked out of the theater stronger, more confident actresses.

“It’s amazing what a little encouragement will do,” Braun said.

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