Local children conquer ‘The Princess Bride’

Shown above rehearsing for the big event this weekend are three aspiring young Lynn actors, Kate Resnek, Ginevra Caswell and Naudia Resnek.

What do you get when you mix together dastardly pirates, a mysterious man in black, and a gentle giant? An exciting theatrical experience starring children from Lynn and other North Shore communities.

On Saturday, February 12th and Sunday, February 13th the North Shore Children’s Theatre’s (NSCT) will host a production of The Princess Bride at the Tabernacle Church in Salem, Massachusetts. The play— which was immortalized in a 1987 film starring Mandy Patinkin, Robin Wright, and Billy Crystal—is a tale of love and adventure which takes the audience from the high seas to the “Cliffs of Insanity,” from a fire swamp to an ominous castle populated by fierce knights. Along the way—as Westley seeks to free his one true love Buttercup—there are sword fights and the search for a six-fingered man. There are also lessons to be learned, most notably the importance of teamwork. Just like Inigo Montoya and Westley can only be successful in meeting their objectives (whether it’s finding the six-fingered man in the case of Montoya or freeing Buttercup which is Westley’s mission) by working together, the same can be said for theatre.

“Teamwork is a critical aspect of theatre, as it is in life, and we want our actors to learn how to apply this skill in their everyday lives,” said Patricia Manalo Bochnak, Executive Director/Artistic Director of the North Shore Children’s Theatre.

Manalo Bochnak also notes that through the NSCT children “learn skills like self-confidence, respect for themselves and others, organization, and adaptability, all in a supportive environment. These are skills that each child needs to be successful, whether it’s on stage, in the classroom, or at home.”

A parent of an NSCT cast member stated, “My daughter had a wonderful first (theatre) experience and I was so impressed with how all the cast just looked out for each other, the older kids were so good with the younger kids and now thanks to all of you she has the show bug!!”

The Princess Bride roles being played by residents of Lynn include Ginevra Caswell (Count Rugen); Kate Resnek (Inigo Montoya); and Naudia Resnek (Minstrel Farah).

“One of the reasons we chose The Princess Bride was because it’s an ensemble show,” said Nicole Poirier, Associate Artistic Director of NSCT. “This means that there are many interesting and important characters, as opposed to a few leads who draw most of the attention. Therefore, with a show like this each character/child is instrumental to moving the story forward.”

The North Shore Children’s Theatre serves children ages 5 to 18. The first production of the NSCT was last fall’s Beauty and the Beast, which featured thirty child actors from North Shore communities.

“Our actors receive training in the performing arts of theatre, dance, and music, but they also learn about theatre etiquette, theatre history, and the professional expectations of actors during classes, rehearsals, and performances,” said Manalo Bochnak, of the company. “When we decided to create the theatre, we felt it was important to create a place where actors could receive a broad education in the performing arts in a fun and safe environment.”

Next up for the NSCT is its spring production of Peter Pan (auditions will take place on March 10th and March 12th at the Swampscott Public Library) and its summer program. The summer program is open to children ages 7 to 18.

The summer program will be broken up into two sessions, with the first session taking place from July 5th to July 22nd and the second taking place from July 25th to August 12th (children can register for one or both sessions). And along with a performance which concludes each session, the NSCT will be offering classes in music/voice, acting, dance, and technical theatre, all of which will be taught by local professionals.

While summer is several months away, the NSCT’s performance of The Princess Bride is right around the corner and many questions remain. Will good triumph over evil? Will Westley be reunited with Buttercup? Will Inigo Montoya finally get his revenge? Of course, all these questions will be answered by the NSCT’s performance of The Princess Bride.

Anything less would be, well, inconceivable.

For more information about the North Shore Children’s Theatre (NSCT)—including ticket information for The Princess Bride, audition dates and times for Peter Pan, and the upcoming summer program—call (781) 248-9458 or email [email protected]. Information about the NSCT is also available online at northshorechildrenstheatre.org.

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