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updated: 1/19/2012 8:20 AM

Batavia thespians have 'Great Expectations'

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  • Sophomore Kelsey Skomer is Miss Havisham, seated left, and senior Emma Kegerris is Estella in Batavia High School's production of Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations."

       Sophomore Kelsey Skomer is Miss Havisham, seated left, and senior Emma Kegerris is Estella in Batavia High School's production of Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations."
    photos by Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • During a scene in act II, senior Charles Grimse, seated, plays the role of Pip; sophomore Jeff Heise portrays Herbert, left; and sophomore Andrew Tucker plays Magwitch, right, in Batavia High School's production of Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations."

       During a scene in act II, senior Charles Grimse, seated, plays the role of Pip; sophomore Jeff Heise portrays Herbert, left; and sophomore Andrew Tucker plays Magwitch, right, in Batavia High School's production of Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations."
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Senior Charles Grimse is Pip in Batavia High School's production of Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations."

       Senior Charles Grimse is Pip in Batavia High School's production of Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations."
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

 
 

When Batavia High School sophomore Kelsey Skomer took on the role of Belle in last fall's successful production of "Beauty and the Beast," she knew it would be challenging.

Now she faces another challenge taking on the demanding role of Miss Havisham in Batavia High School's winter play, the Charles Dickens classic "Great Expectations."

Performances are set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Jan. 19-21 at the Batavia Fine Arts Centre, 1201 Main St. Tickets are $11 to $14.

"It is a huge difference in parts," Skomer said. "They are total opposites. Belle was so loving and kind and Miss Havisham is so into her self. She is manipulative and full of revenge because of being left by the man she loved."

The talented sophomore plans to pursue acting in college and welcomes the opportunity to try different roles. In this production she will again be working with Charles Grimse who played her father in "Beauty and the Beast."

Grimse has his own set of challenges in this Dickens classic. "Great Expectations revolves around his character, Pip, and follows him from his childhood into his adult life. The story is told by Pip in the book; but, in this play, it is told in third person.

"I never leave the stage," Grimse said. "I have lines and then the narrators tell my feelings and set up the scenes."

Pip begins his life as a poor orphan who encounters many unsavory characters in his life. He eventually becomes a gentleman, but, during his journey he experiences rejection, sadness, fear, and disappointment.

Directing this production is BHS theater instructor Joshua Casburn. He finds this play, written by Barbara Field, to be an interesting adaptation of the novel. He feels the character, Pip, to be one that the audience can identify with.

"Pip is, of course, an 'everyman' as so many of Dickens' characters were," Casburn said. "He is also a paradox. He is unassuming and likable, almost passive. Things have a way of happening to him -- yet his hopes and dreams are as big as the sky."

Casburn's interpretation of the play incorporates some unique features. The set design is abstract and he has recruited musicians to play during the production.

He is especially thrilled that the music is original, composed by Kevin Ward, a senior who plays bass and Kevin Raschke, a junior cellist. Both musicians worked with Casburn to see what type of music was needed to set up specific scenes. Then they went to work creating the composition.

Why should you see this show? It is an adaptation of a classic piece of literature that many students read in high school. Having the opportunity to see it performed, is bringing the classic to life.

The BHS theater department always puts on outstanding productions. And most importantly, we now have a beautiful theater where we can enjoy these shows in comfort.

For details or to purchase tickets, visit bataviafineartscentre.org.

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