Sarah Kiani is the founder and director of Enchanted Forest Children's Theater. The organization, new to Hastings this year, hosts classes, camps, workshops and parties. Now, Kiani has registration open for a summer acting camp.
Hastings students entering grades 2-8 are invited to sign up for a theater camp the week of Aug. 5.
Kiani begins camps by reading the story that will be turned into a play with the students. This summer, the play will be "An Irish Tale: Osian in the Land of Youth." After the story has been read, the children begin to brainstorm how to tell the story through a play.
"It's called 'devised theater' which is, in layman's terms, called 'play building' and it's the idea that the children are co-creators of the performance piece so it's very process oriented," Kiani explained.
Students create the story, characters, script and costumes. As they brainstorm, Kiani types what they are saying to create a script and sometimes gives suggestions of what a character might say. The script is only for Kiani who uses it to remind students if they forget a line during rehearsal. Students are also taught how to improvise.
During the first couple of days of the week-long camp, students play improv games to get used to the style. The children walk around like they are cold, carrying something heavy, as their character, etc. Kiani explained that by the performance at the end of the week, the students either remember their lines or are comfortable improvising.
"To me, kids are the best comedians," Kiani said when talking about the campers practicing improv.
The students are able to choose their own character and how to play them. If more than one person wants a role, the campers pick numbers to see who gets the role.
"If they wanted to be the princess but ended up being the chef, they can make that part as big as they want," Kiani explained.
No tears have been shed over part assignment since Kiani began the theater company 13 years ago.
At the end of the week, the students perform their completed play - usually between 30 and 45 minutes long. This year the play will also be performed at the Irish Fair of Minnesota.
For more information, visit enchantedforesttheater.com.
If you go ...
When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 5-9
Where: Hastings Art Center
Cost: $200 per child
More info: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 319-610-5711