Teen actors perform stage comedy 'The Greek Mythology Olympiaganza'
REED CITY — More than 20 youth involved in the Crossroads Theatre Guild of Reed City are working hard to prepare for their summer production of laughs.
A comedy show, "The Greek Mythology Olympiaganza," features two narrators attempting to tell Greek mythology, depicting each story in silly, over-the-top ways, using similar themes of famous movies, choreography, music and humor.
"Olympiaganza," by Don Zolidis, is Nicole Weiss' first with the Crossroads Theatre Guild as director, though she regularly can be found on stage portraying a variety of characters.
"After we did the winter play, 'Hamlet Thrill-Mageddon,' the youth were really excited for the summer show," Weiss said. "I knew I had a tight deadline if I decided to direct this play, but we went with the script and it has the same author as "Hamlet," so the kids were already used to the style.
"It's a bizarre play, but in some ways it's true to the Greek stories. I picked the show because I think it's appealing for everyone."
Matt McGahey, 18, graduated from Reed City High School this spring and is participating in his first Crossroads Theatre Guild play before he attends Eastern Michigan University in the fall to study anthropology.
"It sounded interesting," McGahey said when asked why he chose to join the group. "I like doing outgoing things. For example, I was in band, cross-country and wrestling in high school, and I grew up with a lot of my cast mates."
In "Olympiaganza," he plays a couple of characters, including Hector from "The Illiad." He said he enjoys the laid-back atmosphere the performance provides.
"It's a really funny play," McGahey added. "I'm excited for it and I'm getting a lot of positive feedback from the group. I just hope the audience laughs. It's what the show was intended for."
For the show, Weiss is letting the youth take more responsibility to make it their own. They get to be in charge of scene ideas, costumes, set design and other areas behind the scenes. It's a way to harness their energy and expand their skills, she said. The group also is making sure the production is the best it can be.
"The kids like it because the acting is for kids, although the show plays to all audiences," Weiss added. "They're having a really good time and I'm really impressed because they want to do a good job and they care."
Theatre may be a way the teens are breaking negative stereotypes about young adults. Weiss believes the group is responsible, dependable, helpful and friendly, and all collaborate together well. It's those attitudes and the individuals' enthusiasm of the making other local teens take notice and join.
"We have many youth joining, wanting to take a part and get involved," Weiss added. "They're super excited for people to see what they're doing and what they've done already. They're talented and you see them come alive on stage. I want the audience to have a new appreciation for teens in the area."
Performances will take place at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 24, at 2 and 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 25, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 26, at the performing arts center located on the corner of Upton Avenue and Park Street.
For more information or to reserve tickets for a show, contact director Nicole Weiss at (231) 884-5060 or visit the group's Facebook page.