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Members of the Jackson County Players Starbursts Children’s Theater have donned their costumes for the rehearsal of “Peter Pan,” which will premiere at the Alpine Theater at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Levi Moore and Aaron Brooks (front), Kaesyn Barnett, Aubrey Westfall, Maci Mitchell, Jenna Roberts, Vivien Webb, Arianna Barr and Lilly Brooks work together to manage their lines. (Photo provided)

RIPLEY – Peter Pan, Wendy, Romeo and Ophelia to take the stage as Jackson County Player’s children’s and youth theater programs perform ” Peter Pan “ and “Anonymous tragedians” at the Ripley Alpine Theater.

Live shows are back this year, and director Doug Torres said the plays will help kids learn valuable skills and give them the knowledge they need to continue in the world of acting.

“I’m going to have the whole group find a partner and figure out what they’re going to do with the set (and the costumes.) They all play different roles.” he said.

Thursday was the opening night of ” Peter Pan “ brought to the Jackson County community by the JCP Starbursts Children’s Theater. This year, Torres said the kids were more excited and enthusiastic about the play than any other project he’s been involved in.

“Before this year they weren’t that excited, now they’ve become very excited” Torres said. “When they find it interesting and find something they like about the show, they put their attention to it.”

JCP Starbursts put on a show via Zoom during the pandemic and Torres thinks the kids were happy to be back on stage.

“I think this year, since ‘Peter Pan’ is in person, they have a sense of relief that it’s not over Zoom,” he said.

With this production, Torres worked with children to teach them how to project their voices, how to work as a team, and how to act with his voice and body.

“I told them just because Peter Pan in a boy in the movie doesn’t mean he’s a boy here. Anyone can be anything, that’s the real message of this year’s show ”, he said.

The JCP Rising Stars Youth Theater will take on the roles of Shakespeare’s most notable and tragic characters in “Anonymous tragedians. “ In this play, characters such as Romeo, Juliet, Opehelia, Lady Anne and Prospero virtually meet a therapist to talk about their struggles.

But here’s the catch: the play will be performed in person.

“I was interested because the plan was to make this youth theater a filming process, they can see how to film a show and make it into a film,” Torres said. “Things started to improve with the scenes (so we decided to do it in person.”

The cast and crew had to find a way to transform the room from a virtual setup into a stage set. Because there are not enough actors to fill all the roles, puppets will take the place of a few characters.

“It’s fun, I can’t stop laughing” Torres said.

Main Street Ripley and a few volunteers helped make the productions possible, Torres said.

“Main Street Ripley has been very kind and generous. Players couldn’t use the Alpine last year due to COVID, so they said (they would let us) use it for free for a month, ” he said.

A few mothers also helped by typing programs and providing face shields and other supplies.

For the first time, costumes and sets were brought in from out of county thanks to Leslie Haynes who helped make this possible. The costumes and sets of ” Peter Pan “ came from a college in Wheeling.

“Leslie Haynes, as usual, was very helpful in getting the set pieces”, Torres said.

The second and last ” Peter Pan “ performance will be Tuesday at 6 p.m. and the unique performance “Anonymous tragedians” will be Tuesday at 4 p.m.

Both performances will take place at the Théâtre Alpin and a monetary donation of any amount is requested for admission.

Candice Black can be contacted at [email protected]

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