The wit and wisdom of Mark Twain came to Aitchison Auditorium Dec. 17 and 18, as the Driver Middle School Drama Club presented the musical production of "Tom Sawyer."
When an audience attends a theatrical performance they are viewing the finished product - the result of countless hours of work and preparation. Alexandra Novak, a senior at Marcellus, interviewed several Tom Sawyer cast members to discover the "behind the scenes" story for the young actors.
The time of their lives
Walking into the dimly lit auditorium, I'm immediately greeted with the sound of confident voices rehearsing their lengthy lines. Once adjusted to the darkness, the scene occurring on stage comes into focus. The ever-clever Tom Sawyer is conning a queue of his unsuspecting cronies out of their "prized possession" for a few strokes of a paint brush. The students appear at ease on the stage, as if acting comes as natural as breathing.
At this point, I'm led to the area where the remaining cast members await their turn. Brushing aside the curtain, I step into a different world. Here, it's chaotic; bustling with youthful energy that's nearly infectious. Wide-eyed seventh and eighth graders stare at me; after all, I'm foreign to their native world of theater. An unseen voice from the stage breaks their gaze and within seconds, the crowd scatters. Before all is lost, I interview Andrew Murphy, a seventh grader in the production.
Clad in a black, gingham, button-up shirt and suspenders, topped off with a straw hat, Andrew proudly informs me that he plays the "town drunk." Based on his enthusiastic answer, I can only surmise that this is a distinguished role among the students.
"This is an amazing feeling, being able to work with these guys - they're an amazing group," he explains. The sense of coming-togetherness tends to be a mutual feeling shared by many of the cast members. Joe Quigley, a seventh grader portraying the role of Huckleberry Finn, describes his experience as being "hard work, because you have to memorize a lot of lines, but in the end it will pay off when I hear the audience clapping. We've all worked really hard for this; they're a great group."