FSG Elementary performs 'The Little Mermaid Jr.'

Photo by Frank QuattronePhoto by Frank QuattronePhoto by Frank QuattronePhoto by Frank QuattronePhoto by Frank QuattronePhoto by Frank QuattronePhoto by Frank QuattronePhoto by Frank Quattrone
Allison West
Staff Writer

Over the weekend, Francis Grandinetti Elementary students in third, fourth and fifth grade had the opportunity to perform "The Little Mermaid Jr." for their friends and family. The show was directed by Jason Phipps, RASD K-12 performing arts teacher. Phipps worked for the past four weeks with approximately 90 to 100 children and 16 volunteers in order to bring the show to life on stage.
“[The Little Mermaid] was picked for me,” said Phipps, who had recently worked with a theater camp in Erie, gaining the rights to the play for 52 weeks.
From Thursday evening through Sunday afternoon, students were decked out in handmade costumes, portraying characters from the classic tale by Hans Christian Anderson, as well as the Disney adaptation. Among the cast, there were “no small parts, only small people.” With so many children, there were plenty of roles to be filled.
With the four weeks that the students practiced, the focus was centered around their acting skills. Phipps stated that he works hard to make sure that the children are not just reciting lines, but rather that they are having emotional, realistic conversations and giving the proper responses within their character. Even when the character is silent, the students are able to stay in character, which can be “even more important than when speaking.”
“I ‘train’ them from kindergarten in order to be comfortable in front of an audience,” Phipps said, “They understand that no one is going to make fun of them, no one is going to hurt them. No one is going to do anything to them.”
The children showed their enjoyment of the production, and the spotlight, with each performance. Their acting, singing, and silent character moments were better with each night. Four hard weeks of practice truly paid off when they earned a standing ovation on Sunday afternoon following the curtain call.

The full article can be found in the printed publication or E-Edition of the Ridgway Record, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018.