Children to perform Christmas play in July

Published 7:00 am Thursday, June 28, 2018

Picayune On Stage will be hosting “Christmas in the Land of OZ,” a children’s play to kick off this year’s Christmas in July celebrations.

As children waited patiently for rehearsals to begin, their whispers could be heard backstage. Finally, the lights dimmed and a young actress emerged to sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Her exit was followed by the entrance of two young girls dressed as chicks along with Auntie Em, Dorothy and Toto, who began the play by talking about the spirit of Christmas.

Director Donna Aguilard said the production will feature 26 local children between the ages of 3 and 15-years-old. Children from Picayune, Slidell and even as far as Pensacola, Fla., have come together to be part of the production. Augilard said auditions were held beginning April 30 through the first week of May.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Once cast, the children practiced three days a week. The children have had less than two months to prepare by memorizing lines and getting ready for their appearances on stage.

“They have been a wonderful group of kids. They have really taken direction to heart. You see it in their growth. They come to me afterwards and say, ‘What can I do better?’ It’s really been easy to work with them,” Augilard said.

Augilard said in “Christmas in the Land of OZ,” the iconic character Dorothy returns to OZ seeking the spirit of Christmas to take back to Kansas for her aunt and uncle. Augilard said the play will feature several traditional OZ characters as well as several new ones.

A Christmas themed play was chosen since Picayune Main Street has a Christmas in July shopping event each year.

The week leading up to the play was the first where the children were able to practice on the main stage. It was also their first time to practice with sound and in costumes, Augilard said.

“I think the thing that I like most about directing is seeing the growth of the kids. When you see somebody who has never been on stage before and you see them actually coming into their character, it is so amazing to watch that. That’s what makes me want to direct,” Augilard said.

Augilard said Picayune On Stage holds 1-2 children’s productions every year. If a child is interested in being involved, Augilard recommended contacting Picayune On Stage via the Facebook page, or by contacting Augilard directly.

The play will take place at the Roseland Park community building. The play will run June 29 and 30 at 7 p.m. and July 1 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for senior citizens and $5 for students. Family Furniture on Highway 11 N. has pre-sale tickets available.

For more information, Augilard can be reached at 601-347-6883.