Local students to perform 'The Odyssey'


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  • Odyssey logo.




  • Photo by Danny Campos Byram's Dalton Allison, Sparta's Grace Brizek, Julia Mayhood of Stanhope and Vanessa Adams of Green (not pictured) will be performing "The Odyssey" at The Growing Stage.



If you go...

WHO: The Odyssey
WHAT: All-youth cast to perform classic tale.
WHEN: Friday 7:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 4 p.m., March 21 to 30.
WHERE: The Growing Stage, 7 Ledgewood Ave., Netcong N.J. 07857
HOW MUCH: $12.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: 973-347-4946 or www.growingstage.com.

Young area actors and actresses are ready to bring a classic to life.

A cast of 22 children from Sussex, Morris and Warren counties will come together and bring Homer's epic poem "The Odyssey" to The Growing Stage from Friday, March 21 through Sunday, March 30.

"Viewers will see not only this classic tale, but also these young performers,"
— Danny Campos, professional director at The Growing Stage

A part of the theater's studio series, the all-youth cast will be working with professional director Danny Campos, who also serves as the audience development director for the theater.

"Viewers will see not only this classic tale, but also these young performers," Campos said. The ensemble cast will be working with a stripped-down set and "using their bodies and these minimal set pieces to bring Odysseus' journey to life."

From the cast
While much of the cast, who are between 10 and 17 years old, don't have experience with the play's source material, Byram's Dalton Allison says the audition "lined up perfectly" with a Sussex County Technical School reading assignment.

The 15-year-old Sophomore is a five-year veteran of The Growing Stage with several productions under his belt, including the leading role in "Wiley and the Hairy Man." He says the audience can look forward to "a different perspective of 'The Odyssey,'" mainly due to the ensemble nature of the show, which has players "still involved, even when not playing a role."

Sparta's Grace Brizek didn't have the same knowledge of the poem, but used her "basic knowledge of Greek mythology" to help ready her for the roles of Circe and Zeus. While Circe is the larger of the two roles, responsible for turning Odysseus' men into pigs at one point in the story, she said playing the King of the Gods was "kind of like a bonus."

Brizek, 14, has about four years of acting experience and hopes to pursue a career in the field in the future. She has about 20 performances under her belt, including, roles in "Little Red Riding Hood" and "Fiddler on the Roof."

Vanessa Adams of Green, and Julia Mayhood of Stanhope, both play sirens — creatures who lured sea travelers to their deaths with beautiful singing voices. Both avid singers, the roles were a natural fit.

"We get to pretend to be nice, but at the same time, evil," said 10-year-old Julia, a fourth grader at Valley Road School who will be making her acting debut. In addition to the siren, she will play Apollo's attendant.

Vanessa, a Green Hills School seventh grader, played in a production of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" during the holiday season, but is still "nervous and excited" about the very new experience of performing in front of a crowd. She will also be playing the voice of the Dead and Aeolus.

The play will be performed weekends at The Growing Stage from March 21 through March 30. Friday performances will be at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday performances will be at 4 p.m.

For more information, call the theater at 973-347-4946, or visit www.growingstage.com.


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