Gateway: Living

PenMet Parks’ ‘Hansel and Gretel’ a scary-good performance

Playing the role of “Gingerbread Children” are sisters Mazie and Clara Reis, Voyager Elementary kindergartener and second-grader, respectively, and Kierra Meyers, also a Voyager Elementary kindergartener.
Playing the role of “Gingerbread Children” are sisters Mazie and Clara Reis, Voyager Elementary kindergartener and second-grader, respectively, and Kierra Meyers, also a Voyager Elementary kindergartener. Special to the Gateway

“Hansel and Gretel,” based on Engelbert Humperdinck’s musical rendition of the favorite fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, will grace the stage at Rosedale Hall on Thursday (Oct. 9). I had the pleasure of catching the colorful cast in dress rehearsal Wednesday at Sehmel Park. It’s directed by Kathleen McGilliard and appropriate for all ages! Enough said!

Three “Gingerbread Girls,” played by Voyager Elementary’s Reis sisters, Clara, a second-grader, and Mazie, a kindergartener, and kindergarten classmate Kierra Meyers, had a merry time on and off stage infecting everyone with their unbridled bubbly enthusiasm.

“Ms. Kathy taught me to sing,” said Clara, “and there’s a gingerbread house.”

Sister Mazie said, “She showed my mom how to do ballet when she was little.”

Virginia Pierson, a South Kitsap High graduate, said she has been “working backstage almost two years, including high school. I tried out for performances but find working backstage is more fun and rewarding.” She hopes to make a career of backstage work.

Hansel, played by Julie McMurtrey, and Gretel, played by Elizabeth Pierson, were impressively contrite when scolded by their mother Gertrude, played by Olivia Simmons, for not doing their chores. Father Peter, played by Sydney Schafer, does a fine job providing much-needed food for his starving family.

Schafer, a Goodman Middle School sixth-grader, noted, “(It) portrays how all the emotions of the play’s characters come to make this a well-put-on performance by brilliant actors.”

“The Sandperson,” played by Sherrie Pierson, puts on a moving performance when looking after Hansel and Gretel when they are lost in the forest.

This is the second play with PenMet Parks for Classical Conversations School seventh-grader Olivia Simmons.

“Ms. Kathy is very patient and helpful, especially if I forget my lines,” she said. “(We) are building a house and living in a trailer on site. It’s hard. Going to practice is my favorite way to relax and improve my acting skills.”

Elizabeth Pierson, a Key Peninsula Middle School seventh-grader, enjoys rehearsals “because we can be goofy but still serious.” She had to give up KPMS volleyball to be in this, her, “second play with Ms. Kathy and PenMet Parks.”

Harbor Ridge Middle School seventh-grader Julie McMurtrey plays Hansel and loves “doing plays with Miss Kathy. I like the over-exaggerated gestures and dancing we do and Miss Kathy adds inflections. (In my five years) with PenMet Parks I’ve made many friends who’ve come and gone but I will always remember them.”

Peninsula High freshman Susie McMurtrey plays the wicked witch and does a frighteningly abhorrent rendition of the monstrous creature.

“I am the third McMurtrey PenMet productions’ witch,” she said. “My mom was The Wicked Witch of the West and my older sister was Evilera in ‘Sleeping Beauty.’”

No wonder Susie is so scary! It’s in her blood.

The play opens at 7 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 9) continues on Oct. 16, 17, 23 and 24. Cost is $2.

For more information, contact PenMet Park recreation specialist Jess Smiley at 253-530-6634.

Hugh McMillan is a longtime freelance writer for the Gateway. He can be reached at hmcmnp1000@centurytel.net.

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