DANVILLE — The directors of the Red Mask children’s play have a tip for the audience.
“Pay attention to the details, rather than the words,” co-director Amy Pratt said. “It’s fun-filled with a lot of details to pay attention to.”
With 18 children on stage the entire time, there’s plenty of activity to follow in "The Mysterious Case of the Missing Ring" by Janie Downey Maxwell.
Performances will be at 7 p.m. May 19 and 20 and at 2 p.m. May 20 and 21 at the Kathryn Randolph Theater.
Next week, students from area schools will take field trips to the theater to see the play.
“It’s a real funny play,” Pratt said. “Gestures add to it and make it funny.”
And then, there’s a little twist at the end, she said.
Co-director Jamey Coutant said, “This is a very funny show which will keep the audience guessing as to who took the missing ring. The audience will recognize many of the characters from different TV shows and movies.”
The students range from third through eighth grade in this madcap comedy.
The plot goes like this: The royal ring is missing, and the queen (Cassidy Helferich) won’t sleep until the royal detectives — all 13 of them — find it.
The other eccentric characters include: Maximum Smarts (Aubrey Davis) and Agent 98 (Josiah Davis) with their Umbrella of Silence; Wiley Jones (Brady Taflinger) and his bumbling assistant, Oliver (Elias Harper); Ms. Scarlet (Luci Morris), who carries a candlestick and lead pipe in her purse but is ironically “clue”-less; Bob (Carter Pratt), the southern sheriff with his invisible dog.
And: Inspector Change (Xander Loveless) with a proverb for every occasion; the Professor (William Sandusky), who’s always right, of course; Nancy (Marlee Harper) and Jamie (Arianna Cannon), clever girl detectives; Kat (Olivia Cronkhite), who’s afraid of germs and even her own shadow; two tedious note-taking detectives; and Gypsy Rose (Abby Hogg), the fortune teller.
As they scour the queendom in search of the royal ring, the chatty maids follow the harried queen around while the devious butler spouts suspiciously evil laughs every time a clue goes awry.
Other characters are Julia (Amanda Brown), Maggie (Emily Everett), William (Isaiah Easton), Henrietta (Cora Helferich) and Lee (Kolten Pratt).
Pratt has two sons in the play, Carter, 14, who’s been in several plays, and Kolten, 10, who has been in just one other, “Huckleberry Finn,” last fall.
Kolten said he likes acting, and “kind of” wants to be an actor someday. As Lee, a detective, he has 14 lines, which weren’t hard to learn, he said.
The show has a lot of laughs, he said.
Pratt, who used to be a stage mom, said this is her first time as a director, adding, “It’s been interesting.”
Coutant said the children have worked hard and are amazing.
“Many have juggled rehearsal with other activities and maintaining good grades at school,” she said. “I would definitely work with any and all of these kids and their parents again.”
Parents of the young actors also are involved, and make the sets.
All tickets are $5 per person for general admission.