Scouts Put on "Snow White" to Help Mam'k Pre-School: May 12
by Judy Silberstein
(May 3, 2006) When the curtains go up in the Chatsworth Auditorium on Friday, May 12 at 3:45 pm, the audience will get a double treat: watching the fourth graders of Girl Scout Troop 1827 enact a favorite fairy tale, “Snow White”, and helping the troop support the Mamaroneck Child Development Center. Admission to the show is open to everyone, but the girls are requesting donations to the Center and suggest $4 per person or $10 per family.
For the past three years, Girl Scout Troop 1827 has been visiting the Mamaroneck Child Development Center, a full-day preschool for low-income, working families. The girls have bonded with the three- and four-year-olds, reading them books, playing games, singing songs in Spanish and throwing them a Valentine's Day party. When the girls expressed an interest in mounting a play, troop leaders Melina Vourlekis and Vicki Ehrlich suggested combining theatre with fundraising for the Center, which has been struggling to pursue its mission in the face of significant budget cuts.
Early in March, after “auditioning” a number of fairy tales, the girls voted to stage “Snow White” and began the difficult process of assigning roles to each other. Veering a bit from the classic script, the girls enhanced their characters: Julia Holzman as Sneezy has an added case of the sniffles; Greta Massey as Sleepy gets bent out of shape when discovering Snow White in her bed.
However, with no acting credentials or experience, the troop leaders found directing ten girls to be “beyond their skill sets.” Enter Meg Hosey, who has directed the fifth grade plays at Chatsworth for years. “Meg has taught the girls numerous acting techniques,” said Ms. Ehrlich, “Always face the audience; stage left and stage right; and, most importantly, look like you are genuinely experiencing the emotions of the characters. When the mirror is about to break some scary news to the wicked stepmother about Snow White outstripping her beauty, look petrified.”
“You get the chance to be creative," said Katie Goodman, the Mirror. Arianna Bodor, who plays Dopey, said, “It’s fun to play a part which is different from how you are in real life."
Ms. Hosey has choreographed original dances to the Disney songs " Hi Ho, Hi Ho”, as the dwarfs return from the mines, and "Whistle While You Work", with colorful bandannas and plates. Ms. Ehrlich labeled the latter a "must see" for parents hoping to get their kids whistling as they do the dinner dishes.
Ms. Hosey, who has spent years learning the craft of acting, performing in plays and teaching acting, said that working with the girls has been a pleasant surprise: “It's very exciting to see the talent these girls possess." The girls, in turn, offered these comments: "She's a great director.” “It's really fun to work with her!" The leaders said, “She has the patience of a saint.”
Behind the scenes help has come from Chatsworth principal Jane Hand, who offered the auditorium as a practice and performance venue, and from the scouts’ moms who hosted earlier practices in their homes. Joanne Offenhartz has been rummaging for props, from the magic mirror to colorful clogs. Debbie Schoneau has made “countless trips to Staples” to make copies of the flyer, designed by her daughter, Sophia, who plays Snow White.
Commented Ms. Ehrlich, “The girls have to be commended to give up so much of their time, already stretched thin with travel soccer and lacrosse schedules, music lessons, etc., in order to raise money for a cause they believe in so passionately.” Sophia said, "It's a nice feeling when you are doing something good for other people.” Charlotte Hoffman summed it up: volunteering at the Head Start Center “makes it easier to be thankful for what we had, a fun time in nursery school, where we learned so much!"
The girls have been memorizing their lines and rehearsing together every week to be ready for the performance on Friday, May 12 at 3:45 pm in the Chatsworth Auditorium. To raise additional funds, the troop will be selling refreshments prior to the performance. For questions or offers to help with the bake sale or other aspect of the play, call: Vicki Ehrlich (833-3009), Joanne Offenhartz (833-3835) or Melina Vourlekis (834-3875).