COLUMBIA, SC — Seats in the auditorium were empty during a rehearsal of “Farm Animal Tales” on Wednesday morning.
Still, participants in the summer camp at Hammond School practiced as if it was the real thing — because, Thursday, it will be.
The play, created by director Laura Clark, will be performed for the public.
In a classic scene that is the chaos of a children’s play rehearsal, one kid belted out during a song, louder than the rest. Later, another child accidentally bumped someone else with a prop.
Some students started practicing roughly a month ago, while others joined during a weeklong segment of the camp and have just started learning the play this week.
“This is just going to be intense,” said 11-year-old Nicholas Hassel, who has many roles in the play including narrator, two different farmers and a cow.
When other actors looked for Hassel during Wednesday’s rehearsal while he was talking to a reporter, he announced he was in his interview — as at ease talking with the media as a movie star.
Hassel memorized the entire 16-page script in just a week, Clark said, adding he set a good example for other kids.
“He has directed me as well,” Clark joked.
Hassel recited his favorite line as Farmer Brown, which happens when the animals protest against the farmer:
“Cows that type, hens on strike, who ever heard of such a thing? How can I run a farm with no milk and no eggs?”
Clark, who combined storybooks and songs to write the script for “Farm Animal Tales,” makes all the props herself, including a large red barn, white fence, and green and yellow tractor as part of the backdrop. She also makes the costumes.
She said she wants the kids to shine and hopes one little prop will help boost their confidence in playing a character.
Nine-year-old Tucker Radtke is a narrator and a cow in the production.
He tries not to look at his parents when he is on stage because it makes him laugh, he said.
He also gets nervous when there are a lot of people in the crowd.
“I just close my eyes and imagine they’re not there,” Radtke said.
Radtke had to wait just over a day before he would have to pretend.
If you go
What: “Farm Animal Tales”
Where: Bank of America Theater at Hammond School
When: 5:30 p.m. Thursday (doors open at 5)