Judging by the giggles from Riverside Elementary School students at a Monday staging, "Wiley and the Hairy Man's" gags and pratfalls entertain young theatergoers. Older patrons will enjoy a chuckle or two as well, and they'll also appreciate the typically evocative costumes and set design in the Central Lakes College Children's Theatre production.
Director Dennis Lamberson's play will be staged for the public 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday in the Dryden Theatre on the Brainerd campus.
David Wilson's creature costumes creatively use camouflage and outdoors garb and Jeremiah Thiel's swampy stage design sets the mood for this Southern folk tale, adapted for the stage by Suzan Zeder. Wiley (Little Falls' Matt Woolery) is a Huck Finn type, only he fears adventure instead of embracing it. He's terrified of entering the swamps for fear he'll run into The Hairy Man (Melrose's Shalon Wilber, riffing on the giant from "Jack and the Beanstalk").
If you go
What: "Wiley and the Hairy Man"
Presented by: Central Lakes College Childrens Theatre
When: 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday
Where: Dryden Theatre, CLC, Brainerd
Tickets: $3, available at the door, at CLC Bookstore or by calling 855-8199
School performances: Seats are still available for shows Monday, Wednesday, April 18 and April 20. Call director Dennis Lamberson at 855-8202 for more information.
But with his Mammy (Kim Thomas of Motley) teaching him conjuring skills and his faithful dog (Thomas Arntzen of Brainerd) at his side, Wiley prepares to face his fears. Apparently CLC didn't have a dog costume, so Arntzen gets by with a pair of overalls and makeshift ears and a tail; without a line other than "arf," he gives a convincing performance.
Woolery's performance is the showcase, though: He's on the stage for the entire 50-minute play, keeping up his Southern drawl and energy, if not his pants (don't worry, it's one of the planned gags).
With a handful of laughs (the Hairy Man's fear of dogs is a good one), creative entrances by the booming villain and a nice message about overcoming one's fears, "Wiley" will keep kids engaged.
JOHN HANSEN, staff writer, can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5863.
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