Since 1969, the Hollow Tree Players, a nonprofit children’s theater group, has provided entertainment to the Ligonier Valley, allowing local children the opportunity to experience and appreciate live theater.
The group’s fall production, “The Rumpled Tale of Rapunzel,” will be performed for the public at 7 p.m. tomorrow and 11 a.m. Saturday at the Ligonier Town Hall.
“We do it for the kids,” Melissa Zimmerman, who wrote the play, said of the Player’s devotion to theater. “All of our plays are interactive stories, so they become part of the show. It’s awesome to have an audience full of giggling children. We just love it.”
The Hollow Tree Players, many of whom are or were involved in children’s education, perform two different shows a year with a cast made up entirely of women.
“We think it’s important to promote the arts and show children how fun theater can be,” said the show’s director, Diana Kuzemchak of Ligonier.
As a first time director (group members take turns directing the shows), Kuzemchak said she is thoroughly enjoying the experience.
“It’s a great group of women to work with,” she said. “Everyone is easygoing and we have a lot of fun.”
Zimmerman, who also serves at the group’s president, has been adapting plays for the Hollow Tree Players for five years.
For “The Rumpled Tale of Rapunzel,” Zimmerman said she asked Kuzemchak what show she would like to direct.
“When she said either “Rapunzel” or “Rumpelstiltskin,” I decided to twist the two classic fairy tales together,” Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman said the process usually begins with reading the original version of a story and then a few adaptations. She then tries to answer any questions that may not have been addressed in the story.
Her creative version of Rapunzel and Rumpelstiltskin, which also includes a touch of other fairy tales, consists of four scenes and lasts an around an hour and 15 minutes.
“I am truly amazed at Melissa’s adaptation and the perfect way she weaves the stories together,” said Patsy Kennedy of Ligonier, who plays Rumpelstiltskin. “She understands children’s interests, language and humor and is able to capture their attention and imagination while making the play enjoyable for adults as well.”
Kennedy, a former elementary school librarian, said she was excited about the selection of “Rumpelstiltskin” and “Rapunzel,” as they were two of her favorite books to read with the children.
All Hollow Tree productions benefit a children’s charity or organization or a local child in need, and proceeds from this show will be donated to Jonathan Finger, a Ligonier Valley graduate battling cancer.
“We try to look within the community and reach out to someone that needs help,” Zimmerman said.
The Players will perform six times — four during the week for local school districts and pre-schools and two for the public.
Tickets are $5 each and can be purchased at the door the day of the event with cash or check.
Cami DiBattista is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.