month of rehearsals with forty-plus 3rd-8th grade Midcoast students will culminate this weekend, with three school-day performances for hundreds of school students and three public performances on Jan 29th and 30th.  This production of “Three Blue Tales” is the third annual Winter Drama Adventure with Heartwood Theater, directed by Heartwood’s Artistic Director, Griff Braley, and GSB teacher, Heidi Kopishke. 

 This year’s WDA includes a trio of folk tales adapted by Braley, from the 1889 collections of Andrew Lang entitled “The Blue Fairy Book.”  “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” “The Brave Little Tailor” and “East of the Sun, West of the Moon” are performed ensemble style, with casts of about twelve each, who weave dance, mime, music, percussion, shadow effects and scene work in a fast paced, highly physical presentation.

Students arrive with a wide range of skills and experience - first timers to very experienced young actors.  All are welcome in this ensemble-oriented paradigm, and students flourish in an environment of professional expectations coupled with encouragement for individual effort and achievement. 

 On board for several rehearsals was guest artist/teacher/performer Karen Montanaro  (www.mimedance.com).  Braley and Montanaro have melded vision and a love for performance on numerous Heartwood projects, over the past decade. 

Of Karen’s work with students, Braley says, “Karen's teaching is direct, but warm. Challenging, but supportive. She sees immediately what a student needs, and quickly what a student might be capable of achieving. Students engage immediately with Karen, and they leave her sessions invigorated and wanting more. We're lucky to have access to Karen as a teacher and student mentor.”

As always, multi-faceted elements make a complete production, and a show with this many students is a substantial undertaking.  Kopishke manages costumes, while Braley techs lighting and sound, and they both share directorial duties. Braley credits Shawn St. Cyr, a teacher in LA's ATEC Building, with fantastic help on set pieces.  Many dedicated parents are on board helping with backstage traffic management, photography, props and set.  Heartwood Board members, along with a couple of parents, will be on hand to usher public performances. 

Three school-day performances for students will be presented in the Poe Theater on January 28 and 29.  

Students will close out performance week with three public performances on Jan 29 at 7:00pm and Jan 30 at 3:00 and 7:00pm.  Tickets are $5/students and $8/adults.  Reservations strongly suggested by contacting Heartwood:  563-1373 / info@heartwoodtheater.org /www.heartwoodtheater.org.

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