Niagara Gazette — And though both “Sound of Music,” and “Spirits of 1813” document horrific wars, the kids interviewed seem unphased by the darkness of the dramatic content in the productions.
Alex Gentile, 16, plays a boy who is scalped by the native Americans in “Spirits of 1812.” He describes the role as “really cool,” but sad, as it tells of a boy who sees his father surrounded by native Americans and grabs a gun and tries to shoot the aggressors. “He falls over from the shot. The Indians take advantage and scalp him from his eyebrows to his head.”
”I don’t like the story but admire the character,” said Gentile. “He was able to stand up at such a young age. If it were me I’d lock myself in the basement.”
And despite the tongue in cheek Hollywood adage that cautions against working with children and animals, the professionals working with the children are surprised by their professionalism.
”It’s kind of fun to be on the other side of the process,” said Emilie Renier, who stars in “The Sound of Music,” as Maria and who at 23 is not to far from being a child actor herself. “There’s a whole childlike belief when you are younger,” she said. “When you get older, you start learning the ways of the world and you have to start acting as opposed to believing in something. It’s really fun to watch.”
Her director, Randall Kramer, also executive director of MusicalFare Theater in Amherst, said he has never worked with so many young people as he has on the set of the “Sound of Music.”
”I’ve found it to add a really nice dimension to the experience for me,” he said. “I think that translates into the show itself as well, in this really powerful story about trying to hold on to your life in the face of tyranny and fascism.”