Middle, high school drama students to perform ‘The Hobbit’

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By Deanna Godman

Magic descends on Taylorsville this week as the Spencer County middle and high school drama students perform their production of “The Hobbit.”

The show opens on Thursday, May 10 at 7pm in the middle school theater. The cost is $2 for students and $4 for adults. Other performances are on May 11 and 12 at 7pm and Sunday, May 13 at 2pm.

Auditions for the play were in February. Twenty-eight actors and twenty-three crew members have worked hard to get the play ready. Approximately 70% of the students involved are from the middle school.

“Students are involved in literally everything: costumes, sound, design, sound effects, scenery, props, lighting,” said Shelby Steege, middle school drama teacher. “We have even gotten to the point where high school students direct.

When choosing costumes for plays, the students discuss what the characters should look like, and then review the costumes they already have from previous performances. They adapt what they can and buy or rent others. The Gandalf costume was newly designed this year. Amanda Bruce is the adult volunteer in charge of costuming. Philip Bruce volunteers to work on the sets.

Many of the students involved have participated in plays at the school previously, but anyone is encouraged to try-out. One of the actors in “The Hobbit” is in his first play as a sophomore. If a student is interested in being on the crew, there is also an application process for that.

According to Steege, students approach her with the desire to direct. As more students express interest in directing, she will implement an application process for that role also.

Skylar Vest and Mike Bruce are the student directors for this performance, and it was their decision to put on “The Hobbit.”

“Once they told me they wanted to do “The Hobbit,” I started looking for scripts,” said Steege. She ordered several and then let the directors choose the adaptation they preferred. “They did write a few scenes they felt were missing.”

“I’ve acted in every single show since I got into middle school, so it’s something I’ve wanted to try for a while,” said Vest of his decision to direct. “I’m really big into the theater program.”

Bruce has been involved in the theater for 4 years. He enjoyed directing because he was able to be involved in the play through the entire process and see it all come together.

“I’m a huge Lord of the Rings fan,” said Bruce, adding he thought it would be fun to do “The Hobbit”. “I was also inspired by the movie coming out.”

Vest’s reasons were similar.

“I fell in love with The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit in 7th grade, about the same time as I fell in love with theater,” said Vest. “I just wanted to see how it would develop on stage and it’s developed very well.”

The lead actors this year are Tevis DeZern, sophomore, as Bilbo Baggins, John Mathre, junior, as Gandalf, and Matthew Seeforth, 8th grader, as Thorin.

“I love the process of creation and bringing something to life,” said Vest. “It moves me and soothes the soul.”