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Mark Twain’s Classic Tom Sawyer Comes to Life At Immanuel Schools

IN THE October 10 ISSUE

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by Ashley Robbins

Celebrating Mark Twain’s famous American tale, Immanuel Schools’ Performing Arts Department in Reedley proudly presents Tom Sawyer. There are eight public performances from October 20-28. Tickets are $9.00 Adults, $6.00 Students/Seniors.

“Tom Sawyer is a masterpiece of American writing,” said Immanuel Performing Arts Director, Rick Robbins. “It embodies the spirit of youth, in a time when children made their own adventures and found joy in the world of make believe. Anyone who has ever built a tree house or a fort, or rode their bike through the canals while being ‘chased by bad guys’ will relate to the retelling of this great story.”

Senior Sam Isaak (Tom Sawyer) is a veteran of the Immanuel stage, with six main stage productions in his credits. “This play experience has been tons of fun!,” said Isaak, “Being able to act with my friends and become something that I am not is always a rewarding experience.” In discussing his role, Isaak said, “Reading the novel and studying how Tom was portrayed has helped me develop and enhance my character.” When asked about his favorite part of the show, Isaak replied “The Jackson Island scene is fun because Tom, Huck & Joe Harper get to act like pirates! Aarrgghh!”

Tom is trying to con his friends into whitewashing the fence for him. Sam Isaak (Tom Sawyer), Cole Sorensen (Ben Walters), Trent Viau (Alfred Temple), and Chad Balakian (Joe Harper)

Playing Becky Thatcher – Tom’s love interest – Sophomore Megan Fox echoed her enjoyment of the play process. “You are able to portray someone completely different than yourself,” Fox said, “and it’s fun to see the reactions the audience gives you throughout the show.” The most challenging aspect of the play? “Learning to stay in character while people are distracting you!,” said Fox. “My favorite scene is in Act II when Becky & Amy are at Tom’s ‘funeral.’ We get really hysterical with our crying and screaming.”

Becky Thatcher (Megan Fox) and Tom Sawyer (Sam Isaak) celebrate their "engagement."

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was written in 1876 by Samuel Clemens, under his nom de plume Mark Twain. It tells the story of the energetic and mischievous Tom and his life in the fictional town of St. Petersburg (inspired by Hannibal, Missouri where the author grew up). Whether it’s whitewashing fences, visiting graveyards at midnight or finding buried treasure, every day is an adventure if you’re a boy growing up on the banks of the mighty Mississippi.

The cast of “Tom Sawyer” is comprised of students from Drama I and Drama II at Immanuel High School. Featured actors include: Sam Isaak (Tom Sawyer), Anna Lehrman (Aunt Polly), Alex York (Cousin Mary), Megan Fox (Becky Thatcher), Jared Chapman (Huck Finn), Brian Isaak (Muff Potter), Robbie Heriman (Injun Joe), Elizabeth Wilgenburg (Widow Douglas), Janel Ensz (Amy Lawrence), Chad Balakian (Joe Harper), Cole Sorensen (Ben Walters), Trent Viau (Alfred Temple), Sabrina Henderson (Mrs. Harper), Kami Hinds (Mrs. Walters), Jacob Balakian (Rev. Sprague), Wyatt O’Brien (Mr. Dobbins), Jacob Huebert (Sheriff Thompson), Ryne Preheim (Doc Robinson), Cody Fedor (Judge Thatcher), Bethany Fox (Mrs. Thatcher), Crystal Allen (Susan Harper/Amy Lawrence U/S), Jacy Hatch (Gracie Miller), Kailee Merritt (Sally Johnson), Morgan Reynolds (Mrs. Lawrence), Natalie Peters (Mrs. Temple), Leslie Miller (Mrs. Miller/Gracie Miller U/S)and Aneesha Isaac (Mrs. Johnson).

The Production Team includes Costume Design by Jeanette Derr, Set Construction by Jacob Hayhurst, Backdrops provided by Grosh Scenic Rentals of North Hollywood, Technical Assistance by Randy Tucker and Production Assistance/Graphic Design by John Schlesselman.

The play is being staged at the Immanuel School’s Performing Arts Chapel, located at 1128 S. Reed Avenue, Reedley, CA. Doors will open 30 minutes before show time. Tickets may be purchased in advance or at the door. To purchase advance tickets, visit the school office or our website at www.immanuelschools.com or call (559) 638-2529.

Performance dates & times:
October 20 at 3:00 pm & 7:00 pm
October 21 at 3:00 pm
October 23 at 7:00 pm
October 25 at 7:00 pm
October 27 at 3:00 pm & 7:00 pm
October 28 at 3:00 pm

The Immanuel Performing Arts Department will also produce the musical Godspell in 10 performances, November 10-17.

Collaborative writing, with student interviews by Immanuel High School Senior, Ashley Robbins. Ashley is an Honors English student who plans to major in Creative Writing/Journalism in college.

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