‘The Worstest Play Ever’ June 29-July 1 gives Arts Live kids best lessons about life

‘The Worstest Play Ever’ June 29-July 1 gives Arts Live kids best lessons about life

A play within a play may seem complicated for young actors, but “The Worstest Play Ever” at Arts Live Theatre is sure to be a comedic delight.

Since the show was written by Arts Live Executive Director Mark Landon Smith and directed by Jason Suel, the characters were crafted to play into the strengths of the young cast of preteens and teenagers. Plus, the story is about one thing they all have in common — the theater.

“It’s the story of a community theater that puts on a show every year, and the normal group of actors come to audition, as you would expect with a community theater show,” Suel says. “For theater professionals and people who have ever sat through an audition process, it’s a riot to watch because everything that you could expect from the worst audition that you’ve ever had is played out before your very eyes.”

After a quick break, Suel says that the actors then perform the “play,” full of “mistakes and goofs,” Suel says. “They’re still building the set and things are falling. The music’s too loud, and the music’s too soft, you know, all these things that you would expect from ‘The Worst Play Ever.’

“I think kids would love it. I think adults will particularly love it as well, especially adults who have kids in the performance world,” Suel says. “We’ve all sat through those performances, where we bite our nails, and we sit on our hands, and you know, we’re like, just grinning and bearing it, hoping it’ll be over.”

However, no clenched jaws here.

“I think it has a wide appeal and the jokes that Mark has written, you know, just appeal to everybody. It’s a good time,” Suel adds. “These actors have done such a great job so far in the rehearsal process.

While Suel spends most of his time in front of the camera these days, he was an actor and has been directing shows at Arts Live since 2011.

“I love working with young people. Obviously, I love acting. I love being in front of a crowd and all of that. But for me, at an early age, something within me said, ‘Make it more about other people than about yourself,’ which, as an actor is sometimes hard to think about because we’re all about putting ourselves center-stage.”

At Arts Live that means helping build a supportive and collaborative community of young actors and crew and seeing the students build self-esteem and self-awareness.

“Being a part of a cast is something that’s unlike anything else, especially a cast that works well together and gels well together,” Suel explains. “This play is more of an ensemble piece where there’s not one main actor, everybody is kind of sharing in the weight of the roles in the show. So it’s really cool, how they have to learn how to give and take and work together.”

Like many of the productions at Arts Live, everyone shares in every aspect of the production.

“I always viewed directing as a collaborative environment, instead of a top-down environment,” Suel says. “I like to have their opinions and their voices heard in the rehearsal room as well, so that the product that we put on stage is something that that everybody can be proud of or feel like they had a hand in creating or building together.”

That helps build a community that can overcome disappointments too, Suel points out.

“With Arts Live specifically, I find that even folks who came in to audition for me and maybe weren’t cast in the show [because ] it wasn’t the right time, or they had too many conflicts, or whatever the case may be — they’ll still come to see the show. Which is a huge way of saying I still support the arts,” he says. “I just think back to my childhood: I would have felt slighted. Maybe I wouldn’t have turned up to see the show that I wasn’t cast in or whatever.

“It’s not like that at Arts Live. Everybody gets the mentality of ‘OK, well, it’s not that I’m not great. It’s just that there wasn’t a role for me in this show.’ And then they audition for the next one. I think that skill right there is important — not just when you’re a preteen and teen but when you’re an adult as well. Learning how to work with other people, learning how to accentuate your strengths, accept your weaknesses and move forward in a supportive environment — I think is so vital to us as human beings.

“I’m glad that we’re able to impart just a little piece of that whenever we participate in a play at Arts Live.”



‘The Worstest Play Ever’

WHO — Gabe Bently, Cade Duncan, Jack Duncan, Haven Kvello, Avery Kvello, Abby Logan, Emma Madrid, Kaycee Marshall, Parker Marshall, Justin Miller, Sophie Moody, Markus Neumayer, Mason Nino, Aiden Ralston and Megan Snively.

WHEN — 7 p.m. June 29-30; 2 & 7 p.m. July 1

WHERE — Arts Live Theatre, 818 N. Sang Ave. in Fayetteville

COST — $10-$12

INFO — artslivetheatre.com

Categories: Family Friendly