Area students take the stage at SMSU

SMSU Children’s and High School Theatre Workshops perform Friday, Saturday

The evil Dr. Experimentor, played by Carter Gehrke (at center), schemes to defeat a superhero with the help of two of his minions, played by Liliana Lonien and Daphne Bemer. Performances of “Dr. Experimentor and the League of Evil,” and the SMSU Children’s Theatre Workshop production of “Disney’s The Lion King Kids,” start today at SMSU.

MARSHALL — It’s not easy to put on a play in just two weeks – but it’s a good experience, area high school students said Thursday.

“It’s two crazy weeks for sure, but we have a lot of fun with it,” said Carter Gehrke, one of the students taking part in the SMSU High School Theatre Workshop.

“You have to get your lines down right away,” said fellow cast member Anna DeGroot.

Area high school students were busy rehearsing their production of “Dr. Experimentor and the League of Evil,” which is one of two shows that will be performed today and Saturday. Today, the SMSU Children’s Theatre Workshop will also perform “Disney’s The Lion King Kids,” based on the Broadway production of the Disney movie.

Lead by SMSU Theatre Professor Sheila Tabaka since 2018, the Children’s Theatre Workshop and High School Theatre Workshop provide acting, production, and costuming opportunities for students in grades 3-8, and in grades 9-12. The workshops are a way for kids to develop an appreciation for the different parts of theatre, Tabaka said.

Both theatre workshops started up on June 3. While a group of more than 50 students worked on “The Lion King Kids,” students in the high school workshop picked a comedy to perform.

“We had five options at the beginning, and we picked out this one,” said Maddy Carrow, one of the cast members of “Dr. Experimentor and the League of Evil.”

“Dr. Experimentor” follows the misadventures of a mad scientist who must capture a superhero, or face the wrath of his rival supervillains in the League of Evil. Dr. Experimentor unleashes wacky minions, zombies and even mutant bunnies to try and defeat the superhero Extremo.

Carrow and DeGroot said it was fun to work on a comedic play, after doing a more serious production at last year’s workshop.

Cast member Ethan Shuckhart said playing Extremo was a unique experience.

“It’s kind of an interesting perspective, to be the only superhero in a show full of villains,” Shuckhart said.

As Dr. Experimentor, Gehrke plays one of the main characters in the show. It was a lot of work – especially learning lines, he said. But the cast members also had fun working together.

“There are a lot of good people” at the workshop, Gehrke said.

The SMSU Children’s Theatre Workshop will perform “Disney’s The Lion King Kids” today at 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. The High School Theatre Workshop will perform “Dr. Experimentor and the League of Evil” at 8 p.m. today and 1 p.m. Saturday. Admission for all shows is “pay what you can” at the door. Performances will be in the SMSU Fine Arts Theatre.


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