There’s a mouse in the house! — Students will stage ‘Stuart Little’

By on February 15, 2017

Hinkletown Mennonite School middle school students will present “The Adventures of Stuart Little,” in four performances on Feb. 24 and 25.

The play, written by Joseph Robinette, based on the book by E.B. White, tells the story of a most unusual mouse who happens to be born into a New York family. Stuart struggles to survive in a supersized world of humans. His life becomes a series of adventures and misadventures.

Performances begin on Friday, Feb. 24, with a luncheon performance for seniors at 10 a.m., and a dinner theater at 5:30 p.m. Two performances will be held on Saturday, Feb. 25, at 2 and 7 p.m. Hinkletown Mennonite School is located at 272 Wanner Road, Ephrata.

“Stuart Little celebrates different points of view and perspectives, based on our experiences,” said director Kristen Hertzog. “Audiences will get to know and love the pint-size character of Stuart, just trying to make it in life, even though his is different from others. Audiences can expect comedy, tender moments, and a great message of loving your neighbor as yourself.”

Featured members of the cast of Hinkletown Mennonite School’s “Stuart Little” include (left to right) Rylee Youndt, as Stuart Little; Celli Marquis, as Snowbell; and Joanna Geissinger, as Mrs. Little. -- Photo by Preston Whitcraft

Featured members of the cast of Hinkletown Mennonite School’s “Stuart Little” include (left to right) Rylee Youndt, as Stuart Little; Celli Marquis, as Snowbell; and Joanna Geissinger, as Mrs. Little. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

This is Hertzog’s first year directing at HMS. She has extensive experience in regional theater, including at Sight & Sound Theatres in Strasburg. HMS Middle School coordinator and teacher Jeremy Horning and HMS parent Wendy Zimmerman are assisting.

Denise Clymer has been handling the costuming for HMS for eight years.

“Animals are always a challenge to costume,” she says. “With this show, it’s not a total transformation, but just the impression of the animals. It gives the kids the opportunity to use their imaginations and develop the animal characters through their actions, rather than relying on the costumes.”

Students are excited about this production. Sixth-grade student Rylee Youndt will play Stuart in two of the productions.

“I thought play practices would be very strict, but instead we are more free to talk and work,” Youndt said. “We feel at home together and that helps us to act better.”

Ceili Marquis, sixth grade student, will play Snowbell, the cat who isn’t happy about a mouse in her family.

“[Snowbell] has a mixture of feelings and that is challenging to act out,” Marquis said. “I love my family but I also want to eat [Stuart].”

Joanna Geissinger is cast in the role of mother Mrs. Little, and said, “I am really looking forward to acting as a motherly figure again this year and excited to see how it will turn out.”

This annual production is an important element in the middle school program. 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.

“We really believe that this event is a learning opportunity for all students. They learn to appreciate the gifts in their classmates and how each one is important in order to make this production happen,” states Dawn Landes, HMS administrator and principal. “Parents also are crucial to this production and students get to work alongside their parents in set construction and dinner preparation. This becomes a connection for families as well.” HMS has offered drama productions to the local community since 1988.

Students are involved in the technical aspects of the play. A student tech team handles sound and lighting with support from HMS parents. A student team also gathers, organizes and prepares props for the show and a team handles promotion in the local community.

Reservations by Feb. 20 are recommended for the Friday’s luncheon and dinner theater. Tickets for Saturday performances will be available at the door. For details and reservations, call 354-7100 or visit hmsk8.org/drama.

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