What happens when you bring 58 kids ranging from first graders through 12th graders together for one week? You get a brilliant children's production, of course.
Missoula Children's Theatre has made a stop at the lake this week and is preparing the crowd of almost 60 kids to put on a fun, high-energy performance.
Rudy Ramirez along with Briana Patnode are two directors who are spending their summer touring the state and bringing "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" to life. Ramirez is from Phoenix, Ariz. and a graduate of Arizona State University. Patnode is from Minneapolis, Minn. and a graduate of Bethel University.
This is the fifth week of the tour for the two young directors.
"We feel like we are really coming into our own and feeling really comfortable with the job and feeling like we have a firm handle on it," Ramirez said.
The week goes by quickly for the cast and crew. The directors arrived on Sunday. Children auditioned on Monday and began rehearsals. Blocking, lines, choreography, music, set design and costumes are revealed throughout the week just in time for a show to come to life on Saturday.
"The kids are learning a lot everyday. They have a lot coming at them at one time. Basically they learn it that one time and we start running it and they have to put it all together. It's a fun communal process," Patnode said. "We are pushing them and really challenging them. We are making them be loud. We are making them be crazy. We are making them be silent. In different ways, we are really stretching them."
The two directors are impressed with the lake area children's efforts so far.
"I think they have been really earnest from the get-go, really eager to be here. These kids want to be here and they are working really hard and are learning really quickly as a result of that," Ramirez said.
Missoula's production of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" is not the typical Snow White tale. A few new characters are introduced and a few fun twists are added.
"It's a really fun show. I think there is a lot of humor in it that adults can enjoy. The towns we have went to so far, people are surprised at how much they like the show," Patnode said of the show.
Both Patnode and Ramirez hope that after seeing the show, parents and friends of the children will see exactly what they are capable of.
"I hope it opens their eyes to the fact that these kids retain a lot and soak everything in that's around them," Ramirez said. "They are capable of remarkable things."
Page 2 of 2 - Patnode hopes that the watching the show reminds the audience of the importance of the arts.
The Missoula experience will also benefit the students later in life. According to the directors, the fast pace of this week will teach them how to focus and concentrate and will give them the confidence to try new things in the future.
The show will be presented at 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 20 at the Little Theater at Camdenton Middle School. Doors open at 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for children.