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Pigs, pigs, pigs

South Boston News
Katie Holland, seated, and Erica Graves, Emily Slayton, and Amber Roane take on the title characters in Halifax County High School’s “The Surprising Story of the Three Little Pigs.” The show humorously take the pigs on a romp with the three Billy goats and the three bears and all the villians and tosses them all together into a new story. The show will run in the high school auditorium on Friday, March 20, at 7:30 p.m., and on Saturday, March 21, at 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door. / March 12, 2015
Everybody loves a fairy tale, and who doesn’t enjoy a nice surprise once in a while. That’s why Halifax County High School Theatre’s presentation of “The Surprising Story of the Three Little Pigs” should be a wonderful experience for audiences.

The story takes a familiar tale and gives it a few peculiar twists. Director Greg Donner says, “I think that a lot of people will be surprised by how funny a mash-up of familiar stories can be. Children of all ages will find something to laugh at when the stories get blended together until it is hard to tell who goes with whom.”

At the center of all of the action are the familiar title characters and a rather unique storyteller. The Voice, the narrator, controls all of the stories from “Once upon a time” through “happily ever after,” and until now things have been going pretty smoothly. It all changes when she lets it slip that some stories may be more fun than the one where characters are chased by a wolf, and one player decide to explore other story opportunities.

Playing this central role is Katie Holland, who brings years of experience to the stage for her young years. She has appeared in major roles in previous HCHS productions, including one of the step-sisters in last year’s “Cinderella” and in competition plays. She has also worked with summer theatre productions at the Prizery for several years, filling roles usually reserved for older actresses.

As The Voice, Katie moves the show along and keeps the other characters in line the best she can, most often with comic results. Katie is also an accomplished dancer and works locally with the Essence of Dance Company, both performing and teaching younger aspiring stars. Donner notes, “Katie uses her dance experience in all of the things she does on stage and uses her movement to enhance every character she presents.”

Katie says she enjoys this show and her role because, “it allows me to use different emotions and mannerisms, and I like being challenged.” She is truly challenged with this leading role, and the opportunity to create a rather off-kilter narrator means she just gets funnier as the surprises come faster and faster,

Of course there are pigs at the center of this presentation and they come to the stage with a lot of experience and creativity. Erica Graves plays one pig and returns to the theatre program after last appearing in “Snow White and the Dwarfs” two years ago. She has advanced a long way, from playing a tree to one of the title characters, and Donner is quick to praise her strong stage voice and her natural ability. He says, “Erica has stepped into a role and created her own concept of her character.”

Erica sees her pig as the one who has to remain optimistic and play referee between her more emotional siblings as they maneuver through the wide wide world and its dangers. When not on stage, she is involved with the FBLA and church activities. She says that this show has been a positive experience and enjoys seeing all of the different parts come together. She says, “I can’t wait to see how the audience reacts to the show and all of the work we have put in.”

Another of the three pigs is played by junior Emily Slayton. This is her third fairy tale at the school, and she also has a long history of performing with Halifax County Little Theatre as well. She notes that, “I loved playing Cinderella last year,” but she is equally creative in her role of a pig.

Emily plays on the school’s varsity soccer team, takes voice lessons, and is active with her church youth group. She also thinks that performing for young audiences is enjoyable. She comments, “The kids are always the best part of performing for children. They get so excited and laugh at everything.” Most people would think going from playing the princess with a glass slipper to a pig with a stick house would be difficult, but Emily sees the joy in every part.

The third pig is played by Amber Roane. Amber describes her pig as “a little less advanced than her siblings. She’s adventurous though.” This often leads to difficulty and is the main source of the surprises that seem to occur more and more often as the play progresses.

When not on stage, Amber is involved in a variety of activities including the Latin Club and the school’s JROTC program. As a member of the group, she competes regularly in fitness meets against other schools. She hopes to make the Army a career choice after graduating from college.

This is Amber’s second year in the theatre program. She says, “It’s a great feeling to be involved in something and become so close to the cast. We have made memories and friendships that will last a lifetime. It might seem like a cliché, but it’s true.”

Donner said, “Amber has always stood out in the parts she has had in our shows. Little Pig gives her the chance to really shine, and she has shown she can create a memorable character who can keep the audience laughing start to finish.”

These four performers and the remaining cast of “The Surprising Tale of the Three Little Pigs” are working hard to be ready for opening night at the high school auditorium at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 20.

Two additional performances are planned for Saturday, March 21, at 10 a.m.. and 7:30 p.m.

All seats are only $5 so families can come out and enjoy a fun event that doesn’t cost a lot.

Make plans now to bring the whole family and check out the surprises for yourself.

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