Animal transformations

Workshop teaches actors the art of makeup to prepare for ‘Dolittle’

The 50 children who gathered at Maryville United Methodist Church on March 6 were acting just like animals, and the adults were smiling and encouraging them to do more.

Primary Players Children’s Theater Group will be taking to the stage at Maryville High School for their production of “Dr. Dolittle” on Friday through Sunday, March 26, 27, and 28. To prepare, members of the cast attended a workshop on applying makeup to transform them from children into animals.

“It was awesome,” said Primary Players publicity chair Laura Ousley said. “We had about 50 kids, and we had monkeys and black rats and of course Dr. Dolittle - Addison Collins - and Polynesia the Parrott (Krista Nolan) and the Green Army men. They were learning to apply the makeup and to be in character.”

Ousley especially liked the cast members set to portray monkeys in the play.

“The monkeys will look like monkeys,” she said. “They’ll have makeup with costumes and full hoods, and they are really cute.”

Ousley said that once the child actors got into their costumes and makeup, it was apparent they were mentally “getting into” their characters. “They had been to an animal character workshop on how to act like animals and it was also very effective in getting them into those characters,” she said.

The classic tale of Doctor Dolittle has been adapted for the Players by Craig Taylor Brown.

“Because the original book contained language and plot elements that are racially derogatory, I used artistic license to bring the story up to present-day standards, including some humor and fantasy,” Brown said.

Written and directed by Brown, this adaptation follows Doctor Dolittle from the little town of Merryville, where she learns the secret of speaking to animals, to the land of Xonk where she cures a monkey epidemic.

In her travels, Doctor Dolittle encounters several obstacles. However, it is Dolittle’s smarts, and the collective wit and advice of her animals that allows her to overcome these obstacles.

Primary Players is a Blount Chamber Foundation 501(c)3 organization. Founded in 2005, it provides opportunity and instruction in the dramatic arts for area children.

Show times are at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 26, at 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 27 and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 28. All shows will be at the Maryville High School auditorium.

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