This holiday season, Decatur held the annual children’s theatre production of “Hansel and Gretel.” The play follows two children who are left stranded in the woods by their parents. They encounter many problems and find a way to conquer them by teamwork and resilience. This play teaches kids a life lesson that when there is a problem, it takes hard work and creative thinking to overcome it. Decatur welcomes children from many schools from the surrounding counties to enjoy the play that the students have worked so hard to produce.
The play was directed by Brandon Cater, a drama teacher at Decatur. Cater has taught full time for five years and directed many plays from “Fantastic Mr. Fox” to “Fractured.” This year’s play had high expectations and the crew has been preparing for six weeks to make sure everything goes according to plan. Cater loves the fact that the students make everything for this play, “The kids have to be creative and challenge themselves, and it’s great to watch them work to solve problems.” Cater thinks the independence the students gain from these plays helps them build character and he finds it rewarding to see them successfully pull everything together.
Practicing and performing a play requires hard work and dedication. Junior Layla Chrysanthis who plays Vee the bird, helped show how much time is required for this play, ”we started rehearsal in October and have been practicing and preparing ever since, with weekend practices, dress rehearsals, and hours of work.” Chrysanthis says that she has no spare time, but it is worth it in the end when she gets to make the kids laugh and see it all put together. Kayden Boeker, also a Junior, plays Hansel in the show and comments on how it affects his life, “I’m left with no spare time, but I get a rush of energy when I’m on that stage and all I want to do is make the kids laugh.” The actors say they feel a bitter sweetness when the play wraps up and are grateful that they get the opportunity to work with such fun people.
This will be the forty-third year of the children’s theatre performance and this week there will be a total of 16 performances. There are two casts who will switch back and forth every day. Cater looks forward to watching the kids perform and have all the joy and laughter from the children fill the auditorium.