BH-BL brings magic to the stage

BH-BL Middle School to perform




Seventh and eighth graders in the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake middle school drama club are notorious for putting on plays with an aura of professionalism, far superior to what's normally expected from a bunch of energetic and novice 11- to 13-year-olds, said Director Suzanne Rayome. This goes far beyond her own directing abilities, she's quick to emphasize, and is more a reflection of how they're eager to raise the bar each year.

We started with probably 20 kids in the cast and five backstage crew and this production has about 60 actors and a stage crew of 25, said Rayome, who has been directing for 35 years total, with nine at the middle school level. "One thing that consistently stands out is that this isn't a typical middle school show. The trick is to maintain a sense of professionalism with the kids so we can have a professional looking production and I think the kids really appreciate that and latch on to it."

This year the club is presenting "Cinderella," which has lent itself to several professional touches"a fully functional clock tower that will move and chime when it strikes midnight and a miniature horse to draw the carriage. Rayome said she's always felt it was important to engage the audience so she likes to make her sets as 3-D as possible. Vendors will sit on stage or in the audience with baskets and items to sell to diverge from the flatness of regular scenery. When the club presented "Peter Pan," it rented a flying machine for that extra "wow" factor.

Rayome is going by the original Rogers and Hammerstein version, which is different than the Disney movie and more age appropriate.

"The script has some deleted lines that are inappropriate in content, we don't have a kissing scene, we don't curse and we changed the score so the music is more appropriate for middle school voices," said Rayome. "We've tried to not make it so fantasy-like. Disney does a great job but in order for us to have it be somewhat believable on stage, we're going to have it set in the late 1700s."

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