Spring has FINALLY sprung in Kansas City and it couldn’t come soon enough.
We’re two weeks into rehearsals for The Light Burns Blue by Silva Semerciyan. This play, inspired by the true story of the Cottingley Fairies, centers around two young cousins, Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths, who in 1917, having purportedly taken photographs of real fairies near their home in Cottingley, Rorkshire, were invited by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (the creator of Sherlock Holmes) to speak at a conference in London about their supernatural encounters. The play was commissioned by Tonic Theatre in partnership with Nick Hern Books as part of Platform, an initiative comprising a series of big-cast plays with predominantly or all-female casts, written specifically for performance by school, college and your-theatre groups, with the aim of addressing gender imbalance and inequality in theatre.
There are 45 speaking roles in this play, divided among five actors. I have the pleasure of playing Frances Griffiths, a dramatic young girl with a penchant for story-telling, Vive, the fun-loving prankster, Madame Blavatsky, an aristocratic theosophist and many more. It’s been such a joy to work on a children’s theater piece again, especially with such rich source material. This script invites us to ask, “Does the world need artists?” (Me: um, yes!) and if so, why?
Our production is made possible by StagePlay. StagePlay is an immersive, performing arts field trip for children grades K-8 that adopts a holistic learning approach designed to satisfy Kansas & Missouri State educational standards. StagePlay is singular in its formation, holistic in its practice, and unique to Johnson County. It is the ONLY performing arts, education-based field trip providing three days of classroom curriculum, a theatrical performance, and engagement activities (including S.T.E.A.M.) facilitated through a field-trip model for area school districts.
Content is geared towards grades 3rd-8th.
Our Production Team includes Director Patrick Pribyl, Artistic Director Elena Stephenson, Scenic Designer Morgan Cole, and Costume Designer Arwen White. Our cast includes Lauren Bailey, Matthew Henrickson, Lydia Miller, Jamie Turner, Alex Walters, and myself!
If you want to know more about the true story of the Cottingley Fairies, check out the video below…