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Saratoga students star in ‘Forgiven’ this weekend

Teagan Sandvick portrays Elizadora in the Saratoga Drama Club presentation of "Forgiven".
Teagan Sandvick portrays Elizadora in the Saratoga Drama Club presentation of "Forgiven".

MORRIS – Saratoga drama club students Kristin Serena, Teagan Sandvick and Katie Mikula together play the powerful role of Elizadora during different stages of her life in the play “Forgiven: A Fairy Tale.”

This fractured fairy tale brings together some of the most well-known characters of all time – such as Cinderella, Goldilocks and King Midas – on one stage telling about Elizadora and how she became the wicked witch.

The play is scheduled to be performed Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and the public is invited.

Mikula portrays Lizzie, the youngest form of Elizadora, as she goes to school with the other fairy tale characters.

“It’s mainly about how she interacts with her classmates. They don’t treat her well, and she doesn’t treat them well either, which turns her wicked,” Mikula said.

Mikula is no stranger to the stage: She has performed in the school play for the past two years and also had a role in “Annie the Musical” at the Morris Theatre Guild.

“I like how I can change myself into different characters,” she said. “I also like how I get to interact with others on stage.”

As Lizzie, Mikula has to portray a mean girl, one she says is far from her own personality.

“The character is not really like me. I’m not that mean, and people are not mean to me,” she said. “Everyone knows how to be mean. I choose not to.”

Sandvick portrays the main character in the next portion of Elizadora’s life – the girl turned young adult who becomes evil. Her hate-filled heart transforms her into the famous fairy tale wicked witch, and she plots against her former classmates with tricks and curses.

“During my role, Elizadora is more or less learning to be evil, but she’s not quite there yet,” Sandvick said.

This is Sandvick’s first play and she said it’s quite fun experimenting with the character to give her the right personality.

“It’s fun to think outside the box, to get to be someone different,” she said. “I’m not like her at all.”

Serena portrays Elizadora as Elle, the character after she’s been forgiven by her classmates and becomes good.

Serena’s part has her narrating the play from a side stage as she explains what is going on in each scene, pointing out the bad deeds she’s done as her former younger self.

Serena is a veteran performer who has performed in previous Saratoga plays as well as “The Wizard of Oz” and “Peter Pan” at the high school, and the Broadway production of “The Wizard of Oz” when it was in Chicago.

“This is a much bigger role than my other parts,” Serena said. “It’s a much smaller cast and I know more of the people.”

She said it’s really fun to be able to experiment with the different ways to say things as she narrates the play.

“I think I kind of am like the character,” she said. “I try to be nice to everyone.”

The girls said the actors – fifth- through eighth-grade students – have really come together to learn their lines and how to work with the different props the play calls for.

Co-directors are Saratoga kindergarten through fifth-grade intervention specialist Rita Gemmer and Ron Logsdon of the Grundy County Special Education Cooperative.

Logsdon has a performance degree in theater and music that he brings to the students to help them learn to perform the roles given to them.

“It is so much fun,” he said. “The spark in their eyes for theater is great.”

He said as he teaches them new elements of acting, he can see a light bulb go on as theater awakens for them.

“For most of this cast, it’s their first show, they are uber newbies,” Logsdon said. “They are blossoming so far, and it’s incredible.”

He said he was approached by one of his former students in the special education cooperative about trying out, and she secured one of the roles. The play is open to anyone whose classroom is housed under Saratoga’s roof.

Gemmer said while Logsdon is directing, she takes on costumes, staging, tickets and any other job that needs to be done for the performance.

“This play has a cast of about 40. We like to have as many students as possible participate,” Gemmer said. “We enjoy it more as they come into their own in their role.”

This is Saratoga’s fourth year performing on stage. They school rotates between plays and musicals each year, giving the students the opportunity to experience theater in different ways.

“It helps those with creative talents,” Gemmer said. “It gives them more to explore.”

If You Go

What: School play, “Forgiven”

When: 7 p.m Friday, 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

Where: Saratoga School, 4040 N. Division St., Morris

Cost: Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students. To purchase, call 815-416-1813.

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