Phantom Projects Theatre Group and La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts are coming together to bring to life Stephen Crane’s novel “ The Red Badge of Courage,” for one night only on Thursday, Nov. 20.
The war novel, written by the American author, follows the story of a young private of the Union Army, Henry Fleming, who retreats from the battlefield. As he struggles with his shame, he returns to the field to earn his “red badge of courage,” by receiving a wound. His regiment once again faces the enemy and Henry acts as standard-bearer to replace his cowardice with pride.
Although more popular in England, “The Red Badge of Courage” been on English teachers must-read lists throughout schools for decades and has been praised for its Civil War depiction using fictional characters and battles while keeping the element of truth raw for eager readers waiting to find out what happens next.
Phantom Projects Theatre Group picked up the adaptation from Kathryn Schultz Miller and will add their own twist to the tale.
According to Steve Cisneros, Producer, their challenge and goal is to have young people enjoy it through a different way of watching. He states, “reading the book is not exciting for some kids these days so by doing a live version hopefully it will make it jump more at them [kids] and make it more accessible.”
Director Autumn Browne, who has been a part of Phantom Projects for many years and has taught theater for 19 years at Brookhurst Junior High school in Anaheim, has directed many touring productions like “Stuart Little”, “Charlotte’s Web”, and “The Outsiders.” Her goal is to make this production “more interesting” to students.
“The play as written is fairly dry in my opinion. It has a lot of narration. I took the narrator out and instead of the narrator telling us what is going on, I actually have people on stage doing the action.”
Browne, who will be bringing in her advanced eighth grade drama class to the play, has also inserted real letters from Civil War soldiers to give it a more authentic feel for the audience to experience.
Hanna Mitchell, costume designer has been very meticulous when looking for clothing from that era, while Julie Ouellette, stage manager and fight director, has taught the cast how to look, fight and act while portraying the battle scenes.
The cast includes: Patrick Reilly as Henry, Kevin Dennis as Jim Conklin, Timothy Collins as Wilson, John Francis as the General and Angela Noel a Henry’s mother.
The soldiers battling on stage will be played by: Fernando Becerra, Johny Espindola (Loara High School graduate), Evan Henderson, Omar Ruiz (former student of Browne’s and Outstanding Drama Student of the year) and Steve Simpson.
There will be two showings for this play. First showing will begin at 10 a.m. for $7 students, followed by a 7 p.m. performance for adults for $20 and $10 for students.
Anyone interested in experiencing the uniqueness of live theater can purchase tickets at http://www.lamiradatheatre.com/pr_pp.htm or can call the Performing Arts Centr office at 562-944-9801 or 714-994-6310. Box office hours are: Mon-Fri 11 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Sat noon – 4p.m.
Tickets will be selling like warm bread so make sure to get tickets now. As Browne says “there is nothing better than seeing live theater.”