A group of Lycoming College students are set to take their act on the road as they will be performing an original play for children around the area in the coming months.
Students in Tiffany Towns’ Touring Children Theatre class have been working since the beginning of the semester to rehearse and build the set for “The World of Many Tales.” After finishing rehearsals, the group – known as the Emerald City Players – will take the play to elementary schools in the Williamsport Area School District and other local children facilities.
“I’m very passionate about (the project),” said Towns. “I think it was the right time, the right place and the right people.”
This is the first year Towns, who also wrote the play while in graduate school, has taught the class but was excited about the class because of the diversity of it. She explained that the experience of performing in different environments and audiences is great for the students.
“It gives them many types of performing experiences that they don’t normally get,” Towns said.
Performing to a younger audience is another new experience, she said. “They may have 10 kids, they may have 100 kids. And they have to alter their performance (to the audience).”
The set, Towns explained, is very limited since it constantly will be moved from location to location, so the actors will need to rely less on props and more on the environment they’re in and the audience’s reaction.
“It makes them very versatile,” she said. “… We want (the audience) talking to us. We want them to be laughing.”
The experience will allow students to try new theatrical techniques. Overall, Towns believes the students in her class are having fun. She added that they’re taking ownership of the class, as well.
“I think they’re enjoying the fun of it. I like to think it’s bringing them fun and to the magical world of theater,” she said.
Children in the audience will have the opportunity to ask questions after the play.
Towns added that for as much as her students will be learning, the audience also will learn. From asking questions, to hearing a story, the young audience will use their imagination, which Towns said is important in a world that doesn’t give children the opportunity to do so.
“In our society, we don’t get to use our imagination because everything’s provided,” she said.
For many, Towns said, this will be the first exposure to theater and she’s excited for it.
“I think they’re going to see the wonder of children experiencing theater for the first time,” said Towns.