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Freshmen, sophomores put on fall children’s show

The freshman and sophomore Providence Players are preparing for this weekend’s children’s show, A Hairy Tale, a play by Charlie Lovett. The fast-paced comedy is a modern spin off of several well known fairy tales, including “Rapunzel,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” and others, in which characters learn the meaning of true love and sacrifice. (For a cast list, click here.)

Freshman Margaret Gahagen plays Rapunzel, who is quite unlike the well known princess with very long hair. Instead, she is “a spoiled girl who is over dramatic,” she said. Her character screams a lot and can’t be taken seriously.

“She’s a lot of fun to play,” Margaret said. “She’s very lighthearted.”

Sophomore Jackson Bettler portrays Burt, the father of a peasant family. The “loud and disrespectful” character is fun to play because Jackson gets “to be somebody I’m not. He’s kind of the polar opposite of me.”

Freshman Sawyer Elias also is enjoying her role as Narrator 1. Her modern character is a foil to the Elizabethan Narrator 2, and the two characters are often at odds. Sawyer’s character is usually taking a phone call and has a sarcastic attitude.

For Sawyer, being on stage with each of the characters in their different scenes is the best part, she said.

“I like seeing how people play their characters and make it their own,” Sawyer said. “It’s always fun to see.”

Sophomore Aidan Singleton plays two characters, the old-fashioned King Edwin and the UPS delivery guy, Lou. He gets to have fun playing Lou, who “hides in bushes and delivers messages” and then make a quick character change into the more serious king.

Aidan said it’s been challenging to study so many lines and to switch quickly between characters, but he’s enjoyed it, especially playing Lou, who is “an alternate ego running around like a stalker.”

Because of social distancing restrictions, the show will be performed before limited audiences on Friday and Saturday evening only. Not having a full audience, especially the group of Deanery grade school students who typically come to watch the play during school, is disappointing, the cast said. Yet they were grateful to be able to put on the play at all.

“I’m glad we get to do it through all this,” Jackson said. “It’s a pick me up through hard times.”

For Margaret and Sawyer in their first play as high school students, it’s an opportunity they’ve looked forward to for years. Margaret has performed in the Deanery musicals at Providence since fifth grade, and Sawyer started her acting career as one of the Von Trapp children in Sound of Music when she was in second grade.

“I’ve wanted to do this since fifth grade,” Margaret said. “It kind of feels like home.”

Sawyer agreed.

“It’s like a small community,” Sawyer said. “I really like it.”

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