GUILDERLAND: Theater fest a scene setter

However, the setting they provide offers an interesting variety for viewers: "Peter Pan" takes place on a semi-erected stage on a large lawn area outside an apple orchard, and "Othello" takes place in a round arena inside an herb garden.

Stankavich said another idea for the festival was to have two very different shows that would appeal to a variety of audiences.

"We wanted to hit both points, something lighthearted and more traditional for the family, and something more dramatic," she said.

The first show of the night, the children's classic "Peter Pan," directed by Jane Nielson, fits into the lighthearted category and has a children's cast. According to Nielson, who wanted "Peter Pan" to be as fun as possible, the show is full of different characters and actions, and a fair amount of dialogue.

Nielson, who is a first-time director for the Classic Theater Guild, has directed children's theater in the past and said she thinks the children's involvement with "Peter Pan" was a healthy experience for them.

"These kids have been using their imagination, they're not on the computer or playing a video game, or using a lot of technology," she said.

"Othello," Shakespeare's tragedy about a warrior thrust into the battlefield of his own mind when a man masquerading as his best friend turns his life into a web of lies, is geared toward a more mature audience. "Othello" is suspenseful story about race relations, war and jealousy.

The Helderberg Theater Festival at Indian Ladder Farms, which began last week, is a free event.

Performances of "Peter Pan" will be held at 6 p.m. Aug. 3-5; "Othello" will be held at 8 p.m. Friday-Sunday, Aug. 3-5, with a special performance on Thursday, Aug. 2.""

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