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Original skits on stage tonight at EU
“The Doll House” is also part of the three-play performance. - photo by HIME ROMERO


• WHAT: Three original children’s plays
• WHEN: Tonight at 7 p.m.
• WHERE: East Union High Playbox Ensemble
• COST: $5 general admission, $1 for children in kindergarten through 8th grade

Its one thing to go to a high school drama production based on the works of a famous playwright.

But The Playbox Ensemble – East Union High School’s Advanced Theater Students – shunned the traditional route and went with a homegrown series of skits that were written, directed, and performed by the students of Performing Arts teacher Sarah Fraser.

And they know what they’re doing when it comes to entertaining you.

Children’s Theater – the production that opened Friday and runs again tonight at 7 p.m. – is comprised of three student-produced theatrical pieces geared towards family audiences.
On top of being perfect for all ages, the performers themselves steal the show.

The evening opens with Crystal McGuire’s “The Magic of Zazoo” – which focuses on a young girl named Luanne (Ashley Duval) that finds herself in the middle of a crisis where fairies are being targeted by unruly pirates.

Impromptu narrator and lead fairy Lily (Britany Vernon) leads the performance along spectacularly, and draws in the audience to feel the plight of the persecuted fairies.

But it’s not just the fairies that offer their own bit of comic relief when it’s called for.

Pirate (Jacob Garcia) was nails with his tongue-in-cheek performance of a grizzly pirate, and Pirate Leonard (Ryan Keathley) eloquently serves as the impromptu leader of the gang.

You’ll have to come to tonight’s performance to see how it all ends.

And when Qualyn Dixon’s Doll House was finally unveiled, the audience was treated to a humorous scenario where a young girl named Catherine (Britany Vernon) freaks out babysitter Suzanna (Chelsea Pasley) with her entourage of lifelike dolls that really do take on human characteristics when Suzanna isn’t looking.

When the dolls finally start to torment Suzanna, her boyfriend Robert starts to believe that his girlfriend is in fact crazy and hastily departs – leaving the living dolls the chance to magically and comically transform Suzanna into a doll.

Once again Jacob Garcia – playing the role of Pa – steals part of the show with his unique humor.

For Director Haley Justin (Lots of Sparkles) the performance was a chance to do something that was both family friendly and fun and takes a break from some of the more adult-themed performances like Hamlet and other Shakespeare favorites that include advanced themes.

“We definitely wanted this to be a family production, and we’re hoping to have a huge turnout (tonight) when we close out the show,” Justin said. “In all it took me about a week-and-a-half to write everything out – gaining inspiration from a neighbor’s daughter. I wanted this to be a play about how to fight against the corruption of innocence of a child.

“By moving over the other side and directing something like this, you really get the chance to see how every part of this works, and we’re really proud to be able to do this.”

Tickets – which run $5 for adults and $1 for children K-8 – can be purchased at the door, and will help fund the drama team’s travels to Ashland, Oregon for the annual Shakespeare festival.