Monday, May 11, 2015

Teen Players Return to Beloved Author: Charles Dickens’ "David Copperfield"

The cast of David Copperfield during rehearsal.
Charles Dickens is a familiar name at South Coast Repertory, where his A Christmas Carol is a holiday tradition. SCR’s Teen Players also have tried their hand at Dickens—and very successfully.

According to Director Hisa Takakuwa, “Our Teen Players proved their mettle with Hard Times several years ago, when we had many experienced students in the group. Once again, we have a seasoned ensemble that I believe is up to the Dickens challenge.”

For this season’s Teen Players show, Takakuwa has chosen David Copperfield. Performances in the Nicholas Studio run the weekends of May 16-17 and May 22-24.

The Dickens novel first appeared as a serial in monthly installments. It was published in a bound edition in 1850 and today is considered a classic of English literature. The full title is The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery (Which He Never Meant to Publish on Any Account). Blunderstone Rookery is the name of the house, in Suffolk, England, where little Davy was born.

Charles Dickens called David Copperfield his “favorite child,” and scholars believe he is that child, a boy who lived through difficult times and grew up to be a writer. There have been more than a dozen adaptations for stage, screen and television. Takakuwa has chosen one by Thomas Hischak, a 90-minute production intended for the entire family, age 10 and above.

This stage version opens just as Dickens opens his novel, with David pondering whether or not he will be the hero of his own life. In the journey through life, he faces dramatic twists and turns, encounters people who are both caring and conniving and experiences great loss on his way to becoming a writer—and a mature adult. In the end, David may not consider himself a hero, but he is blessed with a home and family and has learned to give—and receive—love.

SCR’s Teen Players are serious acting students in grades 9-12, who were chosen through audition after at least two years in the Theatre Conservatory. They attended classes twice a week during the school year and in the weeks before David Copperfield opens, their rehearsal schedule extends to between four and six hours a day, three times a week and, as Takakuwa says, they’re up to the challenge.

The David Copperfield cast includes: Brooke Boukather (Tungay, Dora Spenlow); Kelsey Bray (Mrs. Gummidge, Bartle {School Boy Salem House}, Mr. Spenlow); Rachel Charney (Bucket {School Boy Salem House}; Agnes Wickfield), Lauren Cocroft (Clara Pegotty); Mia Connolly (Mr. Mell, Mr. Micawber); Henry Ficcadenti (Mr. Eward Murdston, Ham); Lindsay Frazin (Miss Jane Murdstone, Mrs. Steerforth); Chris Huntley (James Steerforth, Mr. Wickfield); Simone Isner (Mr. Creakle, Mr. Dick); Kelsey Kato (David Copperfield); Milan Learned-Swart (Davy Copperfield); Guy McEleny (School Boy Salem House, Dan Peggotty, Uriah Heep); Gracie O’Brien (Little Emily, School Boy Salem House); Jamie Ostmann (Clara Copperfield, Rosa Dartle); Katharine Parrish (Tom Traddles, Janet); Karoline Ribak (Aunt Betsey Trotwood, School Boy Salem House); and Kaylee Wan (Socks {School Boy Salem House}, Mrs. Micawber, Martha Endwell).

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1 comment:

  1. We saw this play last weekend and it was as fine a work of art as anything I've ever seen in repertory theater anywhere! Congratulations to fine theatrical piece of work which I could have seen a full 12 hours of! Every actor inhabited their characters, the pace grabbed us by the hand and pulled us along and every minute was a pure joy. Fine work by everyone!!