Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Blossom the ogre's self-discovery in Lake Grove play holds key to her joy

Blossom the ogre's self-discovery in Lake Grove play holds key to her joy

SUBMITTED PHOTO: TOM HAUCK - Lake Grove Elementary fifth-graders Ellie Brown (from left), Cyndee Li, Lilly Stephens and Jordan Woolf rehearse along with the rest of the cast before a Jan. 23 performance of 'Once Upon an Ogre.'At first, Blossom the ogre aches with sadness. But she discovers her happily-ever-after in “Once Upon an Ogre,” a play by Jessica Zodrow of Northwest Children’s Theater & School that Lake Grove Elementary School performed Jan. 23.

Fifth-grader Cyndee Li, who played Blossom’s friend Fizzy, says it’s easy to realize happiness if you bend your mind toward positivity — and pinpoint something important.

“She finds her purpose,” Cyndee explains.

Blossom unlocks a talent for improvisation when she encounters a college improv troupe; in a burst of imagination, she finds herself devouring invisible doughnuts and laughing in delight. She was born for improv.SUBMITTED PHOTO: TOM HAUCK - Lake Grove Elementary School students belt out the piece 'Freak Flag,' which is all about being yourself.

Fifth-grader Ellie Brown, who stars as Blossom, says the reason her character’s emotional state is linked to locating her purpose is simple.

“It’s kind of important to find your purpose, because that tells you who you are,” Ellie says.

Lake Grove Parent Teacher Association hired Northwest Children’s Theater, which sent teachers Eric Nepom and Mandana Khoshnevisan to direct the cast of 93 K-5 kids, who brought the story to life with dancing, singing and semi-prepared improvisation. Khoshnevisan also adapted the play for the large cast.

The actors — who played bunnies and circus entertainers in addition to the college improv troupe — performed before a backdrop of blue sky and trees and beneath overhanging puffy clouds onstage in the school gym. Rachel Devlin, chairwoman of the Lake Grove PTA-sponsored Drama Club, was impressed with how quickly the children bloomed as actors during rehearsal.SUBMITTED PHOTO: TOM HAUCK - The cast of 'Once Upon an Ogre' included 93 K-5 kids, including this group of happy circus performers.

“Just watching how quickly all these little people are learning their lines and these songs, they’re fantastic to watch,” Devlin says.

Fifth-graders Lilly Stephens (Madame Russo) and Jordan Woolf (Tip-Top-Too) say they took away a great deal from their zany circus characters and the whole acting experience.

“Stay in character at all times,” Lilly says.

“Follow the director’s instructions,” Jordan adds.

The show is loosely based on “Shrek: The Musical” — a Tony Award-winning adaptation of the DreamWorks Animation “Shrek” film series — which ran on Broadway from November 2008-January 2010.

The underpinning theme of “Once Upon an Ogre” is akin to that of “Shrek.” One of the songs, “Freak Flag,” which focuses on being yourself, also is in “Shrek.”

“You can have fun and be diverse and be your own person, and you should be proud of it,” Nepom says.

Not only were the play’s lessons important for the Lake Grove children to absorb, but so was the experience of being part of a production and learning about “thinking and working as a group,” he notes.SUBMITTED PHOTO: TOM HAUCK - Lake Grove Elementary fifth-graders Cyndee Li (left) and Ellie Brown practice for their performance late last month.

By Jillian Daley
503-636-1281, ext. 109
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Follow me on Twitter
Visit us on Facebook