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‘Pinocchio’ arrives Saturday on Pipestone stage

PIPESTONE -- A professional production of "Pinocchio" is coming to Pipestone this Saturday, starring the some of area's most talented youngsters. The full-length play, featuring 25 young Pipestone residents, is co-directed by Bryan Farthing and K...

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Parker Carbonneau (from left), Brielle Kulm, co-director Bryan Farthing, Ryleigh Nissen, Richie Whipple and Ana Robinson practice for their Aug. 5 performance of Pinocchio. (Karl Evers-Hillstrom / The Globe)

PIPESTONE - A professional production of “Pinocchio” is coming to Pipestone this Saturday, starring the some of area’s most talented youngsters.

 

The full-length play, featuring 25 young Pipestone residents, is co-directed by Bryan Farthing and Kailah Gordon of Barrett-based theatre company Prairie Fire, in conjunction with the Calumet Players Children's Theater.

 

Auditions, and the first day of practice, took place on Monday. Though everyone was guaranteed a spot if they auditioned, Farthing and Gordon selected the cast based on how well each actor fit into a character.

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Max Fleet, 13, was meant for Pinocchio, though he’s unsure as to why.

 

“I was so surprised,” Fleet said. “I didn’t think I would get it, because I don’t know anything about Pinocchio.”

 

Nonetheless, Fleet was eager to perform in his ninth play, and with more than 70 lines to remember, he knows he’ll need to study up.

 

Ian Witte, 13, got the other lead role of the Cricket, and he didn't even sign up to audition. Witte was hanging out at Coborn’s when he was approached by Sylvia Newell, one of the Calumet Players, who asked him to perform, as the troupe had a shortage of male actors.

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After pondering for a bit, Witte, a veteran of three plays, agreed to perform.

“I’m excited, but I’m kind of nervous about getting all my lines memorized,” Witte said.

 

As he should be. Through the cast was in just their second day of practice on Tuesday, it would need to be off-script by today.

 

Farthing and Gordon, who have worked together for more than two months, run an efficient operation - it’s their job to whip the young actors into shape in just one week.

 

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“We kind of go by the divide and conquer theory,” Farthing said. “We split them up into two groups, teach different characters, then bring them together and practice the whole show together.”

Though some kids can be difficult to coach, both Farthing and Gordon agreed that the Pipestone group was more talented than they’re used to.

 

“It’s nice because they obviously have children’s theater experience; they have done shows before,” Farthing said. “Some of these towns we go to are in the middle of a cornfield, and they’ve never been in theater; some of them have never seen a show before.”

 

The roles for the play are Pinocchio, the Blue Fairy, the Forest Spirits, the Puppets, the Vermin Brothers, the Hooligans, the Cricket, the Cat and the Townsfolk. Prairie Fire will provide professional costumes for the entire cast.

 

The troupe will perform two shows this Saturday at the Pipestone Performing Arts Center, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

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