LAKE JACKSON — Pretending to spin a heavy bag of straw into gold, Ariana Thompson made an effort to look joyless and grim.
The young actress is part of Brazosport College’s Summer Children’s Theatre series production of “Rumpelstiltskin,” one of two plays being presented on alternating days this week.
The free shows at 2 p.m. daily will start with the spinning of the Brothers Grimm classic, which will be performed Monday, Wednesday and Friday. “The Pied Piper of Hambaloney,” a farce based on the German legend, will be offered Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Both productions will be at the Seidule Drama Theatre on the college campus, 500 College Drive in Lake Jackson.
Summer Children’s Theatre is an annual tradition for Brazosport College, allowing children to immerse themselves in different characters and learn the secrets of the stage. The process is always enlightening, the college’s Director of Drama, Dana Andersen-Wyman, said.
“It’s fun,” he said. “I have always liked working with kids. I almost never get frustrated with their energy.”
The drama programs are an opportunity to teach them about proper stage behavior and acting skills, Wyman said.
“It’s like taking your kids to church,” he said. “They have to learn how to behave. That’s why we do it — the disciplines.”
Children also learn cooperation and memorization skills, Wyman said.
“Being quiet back stage, staying where you are supposed to stay on stage,” he said.
Eleven-year-old Kennedy Unger started joining plays last year and had a great time gaining theater experience, she said
“I do love theater,” she said. “Mr. Dana taught me a lot last year and he taught me so much more this year.”
She doesn’t have a lot in common with the character of Lady Absenth, one of the central roles in “Rumpelstiltskin,” but that is the acting challenge, Unger said.
“She’s very pushy,” she said. “She’s not the nicest of characters. It helps me build my range of characters that I can do.”
Grace Cammarano, 15, finds portraying the title role of “Rumpelstiltskin” rewarding.
“I like doing shows a lot,” she said. “It’s why I do these. It’s a lot of fun. I have never been a lead before, so I got to experience what it’s like to be a lead.”
There’s a lot of pressure with playing the lead, however, Cammarano said.
“You are constantly on stage,” she said. “It’s a lot of lines to memorize.”
Desteney Kremmer, 11, who plays the Pied Piper, found herself performing at the Seidule Drama Theatre after first trying out at the Center for the Arts and Sciences, she said.
“This is my third summer,” she said. “When I first came here, I auditioned at the Center for ‘Mary Poppins’ and I didn’t get in, but after that audition I came here because I heard there was an opening.”
Being an actor is not work for her, Kremmer said.
“I love doing it,” she said. “It’s just a passion of mine. You get to build a family with the cast. I feel like acting is amazing for me.”
For information, call the Drama Box Office at 979-230-3271.