See ‘Anne of Green Gables’ at Hinkletown Mennonite

By on February 21, 2018

These students from Hinkletown Mennonite School will be starring in the upcoming production of “Anne of Green Gables” (left to right) James Stauffer, eighth grade, playing Matthew Cuthbert; Madalyn Hurst, eighth grade, playing Marilla Cuthbert; Rylee Youndt, seventh grade, playing Diana Barry; and Savannah Martin, sixth grade, playing Anne Shirley. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

Hinkletown Mennonite School middle school students will present “Anne of Green Gables” on Feb. 23 and 24 at the school campus, located at 272 Wanner Road, Ephrata.

“Anne of Green Gables,” written by Sylvia Ashby, from the books by L.M. Montgomery, tells the story of orphaned Anne sent to Green Gables in Nova Scotia. Stern Marilla and her warm-hearted brother, Matthew, hoped to adopt a boy to work on their farm, but with the arrival of red-headed Anne, their lives are never the same.

Young Anne’s warmth, wit, and energy win over everyone around her, from Marilla and Matthew, to her best friend Diana, and the neighbor boy, Gilbert. Audiences will be charmed by Anne’s adventures and misadventures as she grows to become Anne of Green Gables.

Performances include a dinner theater at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 23, followed by two performances on Saturday, Feb. 24 at 2 and 7 p.m.

“I think people should come to see [Anne of Green Gables] because it’s all about how people grow up,” states sixth grader Savannah Martin, who plays Anne in the production. “All these people help her grow up: Matthew, and Marilla, and Miss Stacy. There’s a line where Anne says, ‘There’s so many Annes in me,’ and that’s what it’s about. She has to try new things to figure out who she is.”

In her directorial debut, Becky Degan is leading the students in bringing the story to life.

“What I am enjoying is watching the kids get past what words to say and start to think ‘What would my character be thinking right now?’ It’s fun to see the students excited about the story because there are so many relatable characters for them.”

Degan draws on a depth of experience from her position as associate pastor of worship a Christian education at Forest Hills Mennonite Church, as well as on-stage and off-stage work in college and community connections.

Students are excited about this production and moving into dress rehearsals.

Eighth grade student Madalyn Hurst, who plays Marilla Cuthbert, shares that excitement: “It feels like it comes to life as we move onto the stage.”

Savannah Martin agrees: “The props and costumes help the whole thing to be wrapped up together and to be really good.”

Denise Clymer has been costuming HMS productions for nine years, since her daughter attended HMS.

“I get an idea in my head of how a character to should look, and my hope is that the costumes help [the students] to develop their characters,” she says.

This annual theater production is an important element in the middle school program at Hinkletown Mennonite School. All middle school students participate in the production in some way, whether through acting, tech crew, props, set construction, or service at the dinner theater. HMS has offered drama productions to the local community since 1988.

Jeremy Horning, HMS Middle School coordinator, knows the value of this production to the students’ growth in the middle school years.

“My hope is that the students can see the gifts that God has given them and how they can use them as one part of a successful project or in this case, production,” he said. “We aren’t all actors or sound technicians, but when we put it together, everyone has a role to play. The gifts God has given each of [the students] are valuable and it’s good to see the kids feel accomplished and to say ‘I had a part in that.’”

Students are involved in the technical aspects of the play as well. A team handles sound and lighting with support from HMS parents. Other teams gather, organize and prepare props for the show and handle promotions. The students and director are supported by a team of current and former parents, faculty, and staff, handling everything from backstage management, and prop and set design and creation, to student logistics, sound and lighting oversight, and meal preparation.

Reservations by Feb. 19 are recommended for the Friday’s dinner theater. Tickets for Saturday performances will be available at the door.

For details and reservations, call 717-354-7100 or visit hmsk8.org/drama.

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