"Pirate" Treasure at Holmdel Theatre Company
A professional theater group led children's creative writing workshop at the Duncan Smith Theater in Holmdel.
Zombie land-squid, hyperactive monkeys, and popcorn eating vampires took over the stage at the Duncan Smith Theater last month, the culmination of a creative writing workshop offered by the Holmdel Theatre Company and brought to zany life by Story Pirates, a group of professional actors, musicians, and comedians.
Over the course of three Saturday mornings, nearly a dozen Holmdel students met at the Duncan Smith Theater, 36 Crawfords Corner Road, Holmdel, with workshop directors Branson Reese and Tim Platt for an hour of wacky improv, brainstorming, and writing, writing, writing. To unleash their creativity and get them thinking on their feet (and out of the box), Reese and Platt led improvisational exercises like "3-Line Scene," "Pass the Sound," a silly Q&A called "Experts & Committee," and "30-Second Rant" where the kids had to choose something -- anything -- to pretend they hated. Xbox and pizza were subjects of two of the faux rants.
On the fourth Saturday, Reese, Platt, and their troop of fellow Pirates donned wigs, tutus, and tentacles for a musical sketch comedy show featuring the children's work for them and their parents to enjoy. You can watch a snippet of a story entitled "Monkey Delivery."
Story Pirates is a nationally respected education and media organization, founded in 2003 to celebrate the words and ideas of young people by pairing world-class teachers with first-rate actors and comedians to engage students in the art of creative writing, according to their website. Their acclaimed programs and professional development services for teachers are in place at over 200 schools from coast to coast. The group has been featured on "The Daily Show" and "Larry King Live."
For Holmdel Theatre Company's president Rebecca Harris Zaccagnino, the Story Pirates workshops are in perfect alignment with HTC's distinct mission to bring students together with professional actors, set designers and directors.
"Our goal is to create an innovative environment that allows for hands-on education and mentoring," said Zaccagnino. "Veterans and new actors, artisans and technicians work side by side, learning and growing from each other’s talents and experiences."
The Story Pirates program was made possible through the Joan Smith Memorial Fund for Community Outreach, according to Zaccagnino.
"We're working to broaden our offerings to reach new students with diverse interests, and Story Pirates is just one of the exciting new programs we are offering," she said, "and we're also working on some exciting new workshops for the fall."
For information on upcoming workshops, visit the Holmdel Theatre Company website at holmdeltheatrecompany.org.
Coming to the Duncan Smith Theater stage this summer:
The Holmdel Theatre Company's production of "Inherit the Wind," from July 20 through August 4, 2012.
Directed by Tom Frascatore, this masterpiece of courtroom drama is based on the infamous Scopes Monkey Trial, a compelling dramatization where the forces of Creationism and Evolution faced each other for the first time in a court of law.