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Theater camp: Courtroom spoof raises chuckles galore

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They squeezed what would normally be three months of rehearsing into one week flat, and came up with a little gem of a play.

A spoof on TV courtroom dramas, "Goldilocks on Trial" basically wrapped up the Greater Marco Island Family YMCA's special summer camp program by eliciting giggles, a couple of attention grabbing exclamation points and some inspired performances by the young cast.

Prosecutor Sloan Wheeler, blond in real life, makes a point to the defense.

A week to put together a legit performance by largely inexperienced young actors?

"On the first morning, we just played theater games," said director Gina Sisbarro, who directed the Y's first ever summer theater camp 20 years ago in the form of "Annie."

"So they don't really know they're auditioning," said Sisbarro. "Leaders with good memorization pop out, but it's the type of play where everybody has their moment in the sun in the witness stand."

Young actors have a brainstorming session not related to the play, but intended to get their creative juices flowing, according to the director.
Gina Sisbarro puts her directorial foot down during a pre-performance practice at the Y.

Playing clerk, prosecutor defense attorney and a host of fairytale characters were Ella Nelson, Ryan Sullivan, Sloan Wheeler, Zaria Pierre, Whitney Vande Hei, Carlos Seva, Mariana Seva, Gigi Politi, Maggie Poling and Esteban Rueda.

Then there were Caleb Schemel, Mia Winnik, Brooklyn Tolar, Ayla Vatansever, Josephine Dorris, Chloe Doxsee, Ocean Hurley, Sophia Ogdin and Kaylee Zito.

"I think we nailed our characters," Sisbarro said, paying tribute to the Y's CEO Cindy Love Abounader and the organization's youth development director Stephanie Pepper for support and help; Phil Penzo of Marco Office Supply, and floor help from Lia Okenkova in the production.

Ryan Sullivan as the judge, Carlos Seva as the Papa Bear, and prosecutor Sloan Wheeler take care of business during the TV courtroom drama spoof.
The three little pigs, or "Bacon Brothers" in the play, are Josephine Dorris, Chloe Doxsee and Ayla Vatansever.

Ryan Sullivan, already a seasoned actor and a little older than the others, "anchored" the play as the judge, and his comic flair is undeniable.

To make it tougher on everybody, the play was a "black box" presentation with few costumes, props and sets.

"It's the best way to learn the art of performing because actors may not hide behind the splendor of sets, sceneries and stylish outfits," Sisbarro said.

For more on the Y's wide variety of programs and activities for youth and adults, visit marcoymca.org or call 394-3144.