November 8, 2011

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Trumbull Hall Troupe Overcomes: Challenges to Stage 'Play Time' (Katie Beth Ryan, 11/07/11, Valley News)

The halls of Richmond Middle School in Hanover had fallen empty and quiet by 3:30 Friday afternoon, save for the backpacks left outside the auditorium, and the animated conversations coming from the auditorium.

It was the first day that members of the Trumbull Hall Troupe -- the teenage theater company co-founded by Jodi Picoult, bestselling novelist and Etna resident -- had seen the set for Play Time.

The adult volunteers who keep the troupe running had stayed at the school until 11:30 the previous night to put finishing touches on the backdrop for the play, which will be staged this weekend at Richmond. Their efforts have resulted in a set that is perhaps as much fun to look at as to perform upon. There's Barbie's Dream House, in trademark neon pink, at stage left, and a group of life-sized stuffed animals standing watch over the stage. And everywhere you looked during Friday's rehearsal, you could find actors and crew members running around, rehearsing lines, laughing and grinning. The set inspires all these things.

"I think today was a huge step for us," said production intern Bethany Adam.

At the center of activity was Picoult, wearing one of Play Time's blue T-shirts, with the slogan "Eat. Play. Love" on the back. When she wasn't overseeing a group of chatty teenage actors, or consulting with Ellen Wilber, who wrote the songs for Play Time, she carried a cordless mike with her and gave feedback to the actors and crew.

If Picoult felt exhausted, she didn't let on. At this rate, Play Time, which she co-authored with her son Jake van Leer, has survived both a hurricane and an October snowfall, as well as the loss of the Trumbull Hall Troupe's rehearsal space. There's little that Picoult, and the cast and crew, aren't equipped to handle. [...]


Play Time will be performed at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with additional performances at 2 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Visit www.trumbullhalltroupe.com to reserve tickets.
Posted by Orrin Judd at November 8, 2011 5:45 PM
  
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