Photo by Jason A. Smith
The Henry Players rehearsed scenes, this week, from “The Neverending Story.” The acting group will present the production, Thursday through Sunday, in McDonough.
The Henry Players will lead local theater enthusiasts into a fantasy world this week, to bring a message about the power of the imagination.
The acting group will present “The Neverending Story,” Thursday through Sunday, at the Henry County Performing Arts Center, 37 Lemon St., in McDonough. It is being sponsored by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
Showtimes are Thursday through Saturday, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, at 2:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $12 for adults, and $10 for children and seniors.
The play depicts the story of a boy named Bastian, whose mother has died, said director Kathryn Wood. “He kind of lives in a fantasy world because of the grief over the death of his mother,” said Wood. “He’s running from bullies on his way to school, and he steps into an old antique bookstore. There, he discovers a book called ‘The Neverending Story.’”
Wood said Bastian takes the book from the store, then hides in the attic of his school to read it. Through the pages of the book, he is transported to the world of Fantastica, where a young Indian boy, Atreyu, is on a quest to find a new name for a dying empress.
“As [Bastian] reads the story ... the world of Fantastica comes to life,” the director added. “He becomes part of the story, and it actually becomes Bastian’s job to save the world of Fantastica.”
The play stems from a book written in German, translated into English, and then made into a movie. Wood said fantasy characters which will be on stage include flying dragons, a talking horse, and talking buffalo.
“It’s a wonderful children’s story,” she said. “This story definitely colors outside the lines. It’s not just a normal children’s story. You have to use your imagination to really enjoy the story. Consequently, what this story is about is that, without the imagination in the human world, the world of Fantastica would disappear.”
Karen Ferrell-White, Wood’s assistant director, is a retired drama teacher, who previously taught in Jasper and Douglas counties. Ferrell-White said she has enjoyed collaborating with the 42-member cast.
“I love working with kids. I’ve taught all ages, at one time or another,” she said. “These kids have been very supportive, very excited, very willing to work. It’s just been a really good experience.”
She said she hopes audiences will tap into the power of their imagination.
“The point of this show is that our imaginations make us who we are,” said Ferrell-White. “It’s what opens us to creativity. It’s what opens us to understanding. Everything is blocked when your imagination is blocked, and it’s so important not to close those doors.”
Jeb Sexton, 14, will star in the role of Bastian. Sexton, in his first role with the Henry Players, said he hopes those who watch the play will be inspired to let their imaginations soar.
“It’s just going to be a phenomenal show,” he said. “Bastian doesn’t think he can do anything, until the end of the story. Imagination is really important, because it creates things in our world today.”
Jake Wojnowski, 12, will be Atreyu.
“The story itself is full of action, adventure ... everything that people would like — adults and children,” said Wojnowski. “I just hope that they get a really good time out of it ... and come see other Henry Players productions.”
For ticket locations and more information, visit www.henryplayers.com.