Westfield High will present two, one-act, children's plays, "Whatever Happened to Ebenezer Scrooge?" and "The Three Little Pigs and Friends."
Directed by Zoe Dillard, they'll take the stage Saturday, Dec. 16, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door, or call 703-488-6439.
"IT'S FUN because every rule you're not supposed to break in regular theater you get to do in children's theater," said junior Daniel Calabrese who plays the Big, Bad Wolf in the Little Pigs saga. "You're looking into the audience's eyes, talking to them and making so much bigger hand motions than normally."
He's also pleased because he'll get to speak in a funny voice with an exaggerated accent. And he says the show is sure to be a hit with children.
"Kids will really like this because these aren't the original, boring, little pigs," said Calabrese, 17. "These are Shakespig, Hogney Dangerfield and Albert Swinestein — with personalities to match."
He describes his own character as "a really angry wolf who hates the pigs and wants to eat them. It's fun because I can have so much power and dominate the stage while everyone cowers at my feet."
Calabrese expects his biggest challenge to be the makeup, saying that "little kids have to really visualize me as the wolf." But he says it's cool portraying an animal that hunts because he gets to think of the hunt for the little pigs.
Lee Doubleday, 16, also a junior, plays Hogney Dangerfield. "He gets no respect, so he's kind of sad and mad," said Doubleday. "And he built the hay house."
He, too, is enjoying his role. "I use an accent for him — a mix of 'Borat' and Italian," he said. "He's pretty energetic, so I get to be ecstatic."
Doubleday said the hardest thing for him is doing the accent. The best part? "I get to snort," he said. "I do it by accident, in real life, anyway; but here, it's acceptable." As for the audience, he said, "They'll love this play because it's funny and is a high-energy show good for kids."
Portraying cohort Albert Swinestein is junior Justin Price, 16. He describes his little piggy as "a stereotypical nerd — a takeoff on Albert Einstein. He's got a closed-in feel to his walk and makes slow movements, but he knows he's more intelligent than most pigs."
Toughest for Price, he said, is balancing the fact that he has to act with big, overdone motions, but he's actually a small, nerdy character. But, he added, "It's a good role because it's different from what I usually play and I'm getting a feel for it."
He's also excited because he gets to make "a lot of weird noises onstage, which is always a good thing. And the pig's snort and nerdy personality go together really well."
Price says the audience will like the show because "we have a lot of interesting personalities incorporated into the characters, and good actors portraying them. And the writing is very well done." (The third pig, Shakespig, is played by Jessica Jordan).
THE EBENEZER Scrooge play picks up where the traditional "Scrooge" most people are familiar with left off. Ian Burns is in the title role. Sophomore Caitlin Booe, 15, explained the premise, as follows:
"Ebenezer Scrooge was so influenced by the ghosts that he gave away his money and now wants to become rich again," she said. "He becomes head of a company where a bunch of dwarves work, and he goes back to his old rude and bossy ways. But he realizes what he's done wrong."
Meanwhile, continued Booe, "Snow White — who's eaten another bad apple — comes into the story. So the dwarves have to take the day off of work to find a prince to wake her up."
She plays a dwarf named Smiley. "I always smile — and for no reason, whatsoever," she said. "Even if I'm sad, I'm smiling. So that's hard, but I think it's a fun role to play. It's based on the dwarf Happy in 'Snow White' so I base my character off that."
Booe says the audience will have a good time watching this play because "all the dwarves have really distinct personalities and serve as good foils for each other. For example, there's Grouchy, Giggly, Snippy and Cuddly, so the kids can always relate to one of them."
Portraying an investment counselor is sophomore Shire Stein. "I talk to Scrooge about investing his money," she said. "I'm upbeat and cheerful. I like it because I get to actually speak more than one line, for once. And it seems like it'll be a fun character to play."
Stein, 15, says it's tough learning all her lines, but she's glad to have so many. She says this children's show will appeal to the audience because of "the unusual cast of characters from different fairy tales."
For instance, Cameron Schupp, 15, also a sophomore, plays the mirror from 'Snow White.' Said Schupp: "She's intimidated by the witch because she's scary and throws tantrums all the time. And she's a mirror and can't defend herself. Plus, she always has to give the witch bad news."
Excited about her role, she said, "It's a new experience; I think everyone should play an inanimate object. I do different facial expressions to convey my emotions, and I shuffle a bit. Sometimes I fall over and come up broken. The last scene is my shining moment when I'm in shards."
And while it can be hard conveying what it's like to be a mirror, Schupp said it's "cool finding ways of doing that and making the audience feel for you." She said the show merges two, great stories: "The characters are heartwarming and funny, and it'll be a kid-friendly and heartwarming experience."