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Chantilly Children's Play: 'Dinosaur from Planet X'

Anytime you've got a dinosaur, the three little pigs and aliens — all in the same play — you can bet it's an Ed Monk original. Not surprisingly, Chantilly High will present a children's play written by Monk, its drama director, called "Dinosaur from Planet X."

Shows are Friday, Jan. 17, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 18, at 2 and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Jan. 19, at 2 p.m. in the school auditorium. Tickets are $4 at the door; call 703-222-8182.

"In the time of the dinosaurs, aliens from the Planet X zoo captured a dinosaur and took him to their planet for their zoo," explained Monk. "Then, 125 million years later, he escapes, steals a spaceship and flies back to earth, hoping to hang out with the other dinosaurs."

Two little girls befriend the dinosaur, but the three little pigs — who run a cable network, PIG-TV — put him on their shows so they can get rich. Meanwhile, zoo rangers trying to recapture him.

The play is double cast, with 48 students. "They're all sophomores and freshmen and are very talented," said Monk. Phillip Reid, 15, shares the role of the dinosaur, a triceratops named Aloysius, with Greg Rottman.

"Aloysius needs a place to stay on earth, and the pigs say he can stay with them if he'll be on their shows," said Reid. "He does it, but hates it, so the girls help him leave the shows."

Reid likes Aloysius' energy. "At first, he's a game-show host — big and lovable," he said. "Then he does infomercials and then he's a detective/plumber on a combination private-eye/home-repair show. So it's sort of like playing three different characters. I think children will enjoy seeing all the different animals, and the aliens do funny things."

Sophomore Raissa Dalusung plays a little girl, Dakota, 10. "I'm talking to my little sister Raven, 7, when we see a spaceship landing and the dinosaur come out," she said. "At first, we're scared, but he's nice and we become friends." The girls also join Aloysius on the shows. For example, Dakota's the secretary to Det. Nick Drano, and Raven's the evil assistant to the mad plumber.

"It's really fun, and playing different parts in the TV shows adds variety to my role," said Dalusung. "The audience will enjoy the play because we have lots of good people who know how to make little kids laugh. And I think they'll be excited because a dinosaur's in it."

Playing Raven is Kelly Sharon, 14. "Raven just wants to be with her big sister," she said. "She's a typical little kid." She said both parents and children should enjoy the play: "There are lots of little things kids will laugh at — like someone falling off a stool."

Jae Laroya, 15, plays one of the pigs, Sizzle Lean. "The pigs do a lot of take-charge stuff and are really interesting characters," he said. "Sizzle Lean thinks pretty highly of himself; he thinks he's smart and knows a lot about showbiz, but he's not the sharpest person in the world."

The toughest part for Laroya is "getting the point across that [my character's] a pig, not a person. And in a children's show, you have to be wild and crazy to keep the audience's attention. In regular plays, we'd converse to the other actors. But in a children's play, we talk directly to the audience. It makes the kids feel like they're a part of the play."

He said his role "allows me to be really goofy, silly and funny. It has to do with a lot of things kids are interested in and it's a lot like a cartoon, so it should be really fun for them."

Melissa Klein, 16, plays a female pig called Kielbasa. "I joke around with my younger brother, Sizzle Lean," she said. "We always laugh hysterically at everything, and our older brother, Ham Hock, tells us to chill. It's fun because I get to act crazy." She also speaks with New York accent, and Sizzle Lean is British.

Playing Ham Hock is Mike Wilbur, 15. "I'm the bossy brother," he said. "I'm sarcastic sometimes and, if something's not going my way, everyone knows about it." It's neat, he said, because "you get to look at things from a different perspective — the way a pig would see them."

David Wyant, 15, and Jason Skoglund, 16, both play the big, bad wolf. "He's pretty dumb," said Wyant. "I try to blow up the dinosaur, but it doesn't work." Said Skoglund, "The aliens try to vaporize us, so we threaten to eat them. Then they make us zoo rangers and we're excited because they'll be our family. Then we become their leaders."