When: 7 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
Where: Civic Center Little Theater Tickets: $12 for adults, $10 for students
Info: www.ctoc.org or 304-346-0164
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Tim Mace says the secret to directing several dozen youth in a theater production is respecting his young charges — and having lots of help.
The veteran of Charleston stage — both as actor and director — said his cast has risen to the challenge in the Children's Theatre of Charleston production of "The Hobbit."
Although the play was adapted for children — with the apparent blessing of its original author, J.R.R. Tolkien — Mace said it remains fairly sophisticated.
"It's a tough one. It really is as complicated as the novel is," he said. "And it has some amazing music. Mark Scarpelli has put together a nice little orchestra, and he has included two high school kids in it."
Mace's cast of about 40 has children ranging in age from 7 to mid-teens. Many had not read the book, although they were familiar with the film version of Tolkien's subsequent "Lord of the Rings."
"Some came in flying blind," he added, "and it's been really interesting to see their eyes open up. The kid who plays Gollum has picked up the book to read."
Sophisticated writing or not, the story is one that appeals to all ages — a hobbit named Bilbo sets off on a quest across Middle Earth with dwarves to capture a treasure from a dragon.
Mace did cast two adults (they switch off) for the voice of the dragon, Smaug, because the role requires a powerful and deep voice.