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GMS theater goes "Into the Woods"

The Witch (Lily Tierno, center) pays a visit to the Baker's Wife (Murphy Harris) and the Baker (Sam Leggett) during rehearsals for the coming Gilford Middle School production of "Into the Woods, Jr." (Photo by Erin Plummer) (click for larger version)
May 16, 2017
Gilford Middle School students will bring an interconnected series of fairy tales together in the coming production of "Into the Woods, Jr."

"Into the Woods" brings together several fairy tale characters together to search for everything they need in one woods on one night.

Currently, two casts are rehearsing to bring the show to the stage in June.

Director Matt Demko said the productions normally rehearse for around nine and a half weeks, though this production will have to be done in less than five weeks.

"It's a show we felt we could do in five weeks," Demko said.

Demko said the show is great for the students with this limited timeframe.

"It's based on fairy tales; the kids are familiar with the stories," Demko said.

Demko said there are a lot of individual scenes up through trios. He also said the show is mostly an ensemble cast and no one really has the lead part. Because everyone in the cast is so busy, Demko said no one has the pressure of being the lead.

Demko said this is a great group of students and they have been working really hard on the production. Most of the students play sports, and quite a few are in dance companies as recital season draws closer

The students are still coming to rehearsals sometimes leaving around 7 p.m. Demko said this really shows dedication.

"They're coming in at 4:45 [p.m.] to rehearse because we all have after school activities," Demko said. "It's a real struggle in their dedication to do a show in five weeks [instead of] nine and a half."

Both casts will rehearse at the exact same time. A number of high school students have volunteered to help out with the production. One group will meet with Demko while the other group will work with a number of high school volunteers, then the two groups will rotate.

Due to of the truncated rehearsal time and how busy the cast is, Demko said the production will not be nearly as big as previous shows. He said the set consists of four trees and more emphasis is placed on the performances.

In one of the casts, eighth grader Kathryn Osburn plays Jack, who sells his cow to the Baker and the Baker's Wife for some beans, resulting in an adventure with a beanstalk and a giant.

"It's really fun because I've played a boy before, but this is really fun because he has a lot of great songs," Osburn said.

Osburn said the production has been "really fun" and she said Demko has really helped her through rehearsals.

"He's really helpful and he helps you when you need any help and he's a great director," Osburn said.

Leilani McMath is one of the performers who plays Rapunzel. McMath also said she has been having fun through this process.

"I've had a lot more to do and it's really fun," McMath said.

As an eighth grader this is McMath's last show at GMS. She said it's sad that middle school is almost over and she has done a lot of great shows.

"I'm a little sad, but I hope next year in high school, there will be a lot of great experiences," McMath said.

McMath also said she enjoys working with Demko.

"Mr. Demko helps a lot and he gives everyone great opportunities in their career in theater," McMath said.

She said she enjoys working with everyone as well and everyone in the cast is willing to help out.

Performances are on June 3 at 7 p.m. and June 4 at 8 p.m. at the Gilford High School auditorium.

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