A Canebreak classic

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 17, 2006

In less than a week, the hard work of more than 13 area students will make residents laugh, cry, and want to do it all over again.

For the past six weeks students from Demopolis Middle School, West Alabama Prep, Southern Academy, Demopolis High School, and even a few home-schoolers, will perform their version of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.”

Tom Sawyer, Aunt Polly, Joe Harper, and of course that “poor” Huckleberry Finn, will be live and in action at Demopolis’ Old School on April 21-23 for another Canebreak Players’ production.

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When it came to choosing the play, director Jan Wilburn said she imagined the children who may come out to audition and saw “Tom Sawyer” being the perfect fit for the acting youth of Demopolis.

“This is the time of year we do our children’s production,” Wilburn said,

“We had done it 12 years ago, but I thought this generation of actors would be perfect to do it again.”

Therefore, the students have been working together to create a show the entire family is guaranteed to enjoy.

“It’s really fun,” Jeremy Mock, a sixth-grade home-schooled student who plays Tom, said.

“And you get to get out of school,” DMS sixth grader Andrew Gwin, or “Sid,” added with a smile.

But getting out of class isn’t the only benefit, for potential actors like DHS eleventh grader Travis Bryant, or “Jim.” This is an opportunity for students to better their talents, while having fun with peers.

“Practice is the best part,” Huckleberry Finn, or Drew Tucker (a tenth grader at DHS), said as he laughed. “You get to

watch other people mess up.”

Although the majority of the cast had been on stage before, Tucker since he was in a cradle – literally, there was one new member who was getting her first opportunity to shine in the spotlight.

WAP sixth grader Kayley Cook, who plays “Becky Thatcher,” said she made the decision to act, to try something new.

“I wanted to meet new people,” she said, “and I wanted to make more friends.”

And the opportunity to act along side such a diverse of students gives her the perfect opportunity.

Even though there are adult characters in the play, none of the actors are over the age of 18.

Aunt Polly is a home-schooled eleventh-grader named Chelsea Lavender,

Mrs. Harper is Catie Cole, a DHS tenth-grader, widow Douglas is played by Amanda Howerton, and the sheriff is DHS eleventh grader, Josh Julian.

The cast is completed by DHS tenth grader John Haisty as “Joe Harper,” twelfth grader Codi Sprewell as “Mary,” and Jade Bates, an eleventh grader at Southern Academy, and ninth-grade DHS student Victoria Barley share the role of “Suzy Harper.”

“These kids are so good and they are so responsive,” Wilburn said, “They would’ve been able to do anything in six weeks and they’ve gotten through this. They’re ready.”

Local students will get a sneak peak of the play next week for $2 a ticket, but the play is open to the public Friday at 7 p.m., and Sunday and Saturday 2 p.m. Please be mindful that it takes a lot of funding to keep the Old School open, so ticket prices for adults have increased to $8 each, but there will be a discounted rate for children under six.