In “The Enchanted Bookshop,” classic literary characters come to life to save their beloved bookshop. And in real life, several people stepped up to save this children’s theater production during a time when things looked bleak.
When the original director and some cast members exited the Driftwood show late last week, just days before the first performance, stage manager Valerie Parker picked up the reins.
“It kind of got thrust in my lap at the last minute,” she said, noting that her only previous directing gig was her daughter’s fourth-grade class play in Ocean Shores. (Her daughter is 30 now.)
Still, she doesn’t discuss or dwell on the last-minute changes: “We try to keep all the drama on the stage,” she joked.
Parker focused on pulling everyone together and filling the gaps in time for the first performance, which was early this week. Julayne Fleury led a team to design and build the set in just four days; Parker worked with producer Valerie Sullivan to get the costumes finished in time; and the newly added performers learned their roles quickly.
Onstage, a few Harbor theater veterans are joined by a plethora of young actors. “We have a wonderful group of kids from 7th Street and local schools — some with no experience, but a lot of talent,” said Parker. “Every little adverse thing that has happened, the kids have rolled with it and made it work.”
The 2017 comedy, written by Todd Wallinger, is being presented several times this week for the district’s third-graders, with schools busing them in.
On Saturday, the troupe will present three public performances. The one-hour shows will begin at 1:30, 3:30 and 5 p.m. at the Driftwood Playhouse in Aberdeen.
Tickets are $2 for children, $3 for teens, $4 for adults or $10 for a family of four. They’re available only at the door. The box office opens at 12:30.