The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

December 4, 2009

Students to present “Anne of Green Gables”

BY MARY KAY SWEIKAR

DANVILLE — A group of home-schooled children will present the much-loved play "Anne of Green Gables" at 6 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Rock Church, 20 Poland Road.

The play is based on the bestselling 1908 novel by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery, and in recent decades has been considered a children’s book.

Rebecca Hickman, director of the play, said, "We did this same play 10 years ago. At that time the script was only 20 pages and today it’s 47 pages long, so it’s a much bigger production."

The play will be presented in two acts and will last about two hours.

Breanne Kelsey, Hickman’s daughter and also co-director of the play, was the lead in the earlier production.

"It’s fun to work with a much bigger presentation of this same play," Kelsey said. "It’s a cute story that both children and adults will enjoy."

Samantha Lemeur also is assisting with the production. Ed Hickman constructed the sets and is in charge of lighting.

The play is open to the public, and donations will be accepted at the door. Many of the children in the show are first-time actors, some have had experience in other local productions and some are members of the Rock Church drama team.

"We all worked together to put together the period costumes," Hickman said. "Although the Rock Church is not actually producing the play, they have been very generous in giving us anything that we need.

"It’s been a lot of hard work, but at the same time very exciting to direct this play," Hickman said. "It should make you laugh and it has serious times, but in the end it leaves you smiling."

"Anne of Green Gables" is about unmarried middle-aged siblings, Marilla and Matthew, who live together at Green Gables farm on Prince Edward Island, in Nova Scotia. They decide to adopt a boy from an orphan asylum as a helper on their farm, but instead they get a precocious 11-year-old girl name Anne Shirley. Anne is bright and quick, and excels in her studies throughout her education. The play also follows her misadventures in the quiet, old-fashioned town where they live.

At the end, Anne proves her devotion to Marilla and Green Gables by giving up the Avery Prize in English, which would have allowed her to pursue a college degree. Instead, she stays home to help Marilla after Matthew dies from a heart attack.

Cast members include Tamar Hickman as Anne No. 1 and Josie Pye; Caitlin Downey, Anne No. 2; Katie Walder as Marilla Cuthbert; Luke Hickman as Matthew Cuthbert; Kady Bennett as Mrs. Blewett and Diana Barry; Ellen Stacey as Rachel Lynde; Isaac Garnica as Thomas Lynde and Gilbert Blythe; and Stephen Fogle as Mr. Hammond, Mr. Barry and Mr. Sadler.

Also in the cast are Jacob Lashuay as Tom at the mill, Mr. Phillips, the Doctor and Rev. Aller; Amber Fogle as Mrs. Hammond and Miss Stacey; Brittany Demarest as Mrs. Spencer, Mary Jo, babysitter and Aunt Jose; Lauren Powell as Woman with Mrs. Hammond, and Mrs. Barry; Noah Garnica as Station Master and Moody; Annika Downey as Ruby Gillis; and Lauren Demarest as Mrs. Cadbury.

Other cast members include Ashley Demarest as Jane Andrews; Brookelyn Powell as Alice Lawson; Joshua Garnica as Mrs. Hammond’s son and Student; Abigail Fogle as Minnie May; and Hannah Garnica as Mrs. Hammond’s child.