Bluefield College’s Youth Theatre will present an original production entitled “Arthur at Merlin’s King Academy,” Thursday through Sunday, June 9-12.
Performances Thursday through Saturday, June 9-11, will begin at 7:30 p.m. The Sunday matinee, June 12, will begin at 2 p.m. All shows will take place in BC’s Harman Chapel Auditorium, where admission at the door will be $7 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens.
Comprised primarily with children and teens from the community, Bluefield Youth Theatre features a cast of young actors and actresses who take part in fun and educational drama instruction in the college’s Fine Arts Community School.
The group’s summer 2011 performance, “Arthur at Merlin’s King Academy,” is an imaginative retelling of the Arthurian legend, created by BC Theatre artistic director Charles Reese. Set in the dark ages, the play tells the story of the wizard Merlin’s efforts to prepare Arthur and a handful of aspiring noble youth to rule Britain.
In the drama, Merlin decides to create an academy where, with the aid of Sir Hector and Morgan le Fay, he will train these young nobles in what it means to rule and govern. The final exam for the academy is a test to see who can draw the sword Excalibur from the living stone where it was confined when Uther Pendragon died, leaving Britain without a king.
“This play is a humorous re-examination of a well-known story,” Reese said, “with some important lessons thrown in along the way as Arthur and his classmates learn what it means to be a good ruler.”
Directed by Reese and Rebecca McCoy-Reese, assistant professor of theatre arts, “Arthur at Merlin’s King Academy” features 14 local children in the cast. Brian Fisher of Springville, Virginia, plays the lead role of Arthur. Jacob Stowers of Bluefield, Virginia, plays Merlin. Luke Huffman of Bluefield, Virginia, plays Hector. Margaret Rich of Bluefield, Virginia, performs Morgan le Fay, while Claire Fisher of Springville, Virginia, plays Arthur’s nemesis, Morganna.
Other cast members include local youth Andrew Brown as Kay, Caden Minnix as Bedwyr, Katey Priest as Guenevere, Alexandra Stout as Gawain, Ethan Stout as Percival, Noah Jennings as Bors, Molly Callo as Tristan, Eric Workman as Lancelot, and Matthew Giordano as Ban of Benwick.
“This play is a lot of fun,” Reese added. “We decided to treat all the famous knightly figures as children, because we could avoid some of the more adult themes in the story, but still keep all the chivalry and swashbuckling. Plus, there’s just something about putting a sword and shield in the hands of a young actor. It can’t help but be fun.”
For more information regarding “Arthur at Merlin’s King Academy,” Bluefield Youth Theatre, or the BC Fine Arts Community School, contact Reese by phone at 276-326-4244 or 276-326-4213, or by email at [email protected]