By Cheryl Rodewig, The BayonetMarch 18, 2010
FORT BENNING, Ga. - Gnomes, princesses, wicked witches and the big bad, though perhaps just misunderstood, wolf - you'll see it all at Faith Middle School's annual dinner theater Friday.
The evening kicks off with a barbecue dinner, catered by Smokey Bones, at 6 p.m. Lights dim after dinner is served for the first show, Happily Ever After, performed by Traci Kornett's drama class. This "once upon a time" pits four famous fairy tale couples, such as Cinderella and Prince Charming, against each other in a game show run by the wicked witch. Each seeking their own happy ending, the characters are in for a surprise.
After intermission, members of the drama club will present Holka Polka! This storybook mystery concerns the plight of Brenda, a particularly sweet young witch, and her quest to save the prince, the victim of a dastardly sleeping spell.
At $8 a person, it's a cheap - and unique - night out appropriate for all ages, said Carol Johnson, director and drama club facilitator.
"Little kids, I think, will be fascinated by it because it has the fantasy element," she said. "You see a Humpty Dumpty. You see a Pinocchio. You see a fairy godmother. And then the humor draws in a more mature crowd."
More than 50 kids are involved in making the production a success.
They've done everything from painting sets to creating costumes, Johnson said. They're even responsible for some of the staging and behind-the-scenes technical work.
It's the biggest event of the year for the drama club, and a good learning opportunity, too, Johnson said.
"They learn self-confidence, presentation skills, speaking with clarity, how to get along with others. They also have learned what it means to have expectations to be met," she said. "They're being counted on. If they don't show up, then the whole group misses out."
Thirteen-year-old Courtney Westerfield, an eighth-grade member of the drama club, said she enjoys being involved in theater.
"It's nerve-wracking at first, but once you get used to it, you settle down," said Courtney, who plays the role of Brenda in Holka Polka! "(It's) just something about being on stage: the lights, the interaction with the audience, the feedback they give you. It's kind of fun because you get to be somebody you're not. I get to go crazy at one point."
Audience members can expect a show like nothing they've ever seen before, she said.
"Mystery .... laughs, different characters from different story books - we're all over the place," said 11-year-old Jacob Medure.
The sixth-grader is acting in his first major show this month, playing the role of Snorez, an Italian wizard.
"I've had a lot of fun with it so far," he said. "A lot of people call me a drama king, so I decided to pursue that. I joined the club."
The menu for the dinner theater is barbecue pork, baked beans, cole slaw, bread, tea and dessert. Reserve your ticket by Wednesday. Call 706-545-0310.