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Young actors make scenes at Hudson Opera House



HUDSON–The Hudson Opera House will host a teen theatre workshop production entitled “Surprises at the End” December 11 at 7:30 p.m. The title refers to the unexpected and often ironic plot twists that end the scenes the student actors have been working on this fall in Carol Rusoff’s HOH scene work and improvisation classes.

“They are like tiny one act plays,” said Ms. Rusoff, director of the Hudson Teen Theatre Project.


Scenes are taken from “Our Time,” by William Inge, “Class Action #1,” and “Midnight Run,” by Brad Slaight, “Lonely Impulse of Delight,” by John Patrick Shanley, “The Days and Nights of Bee Fenstermaker,” by William Snyder,  “The Unicorn in the Garden,” by James Thurber, “Superman” by Jules Feiffer, and “Graceland” by Ellen Byron.

If you’ve ever wondered how actors learn their craft before they go to Broadway or Hollywood and become household names, this hour-long work in progress provides insights.

For an actor, scene work is like a drama gym. It provides the chance to focus on a small section of a larger work, and an opportunity to try out different approaches and characters. Actors get to fine tune facial expressions and body movement as they move up and down an imaginary staircase, feed and stroke an imaginary unicorn, or do any number of ordinary things that become a challenge once one tries to recreate them onstage.

Ms. Rusoff, the director and drama teacher, has tackled Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream” in the past with her troupes and plans to let her improv students have a go at the Greek myth of Persephone next spring. “It has everything in it, disobedience, the breaking of taboos and a journey to the dark side,” said the director, who fell in love with Greek myth during her own teen years when she was a student at in Chicago.

Assistant Director Sarah Schaeffer, a graduate of the HOH teen theatre program and now an actress, will play an obsessed Elvis Fan in a scene from “Graceland.” She credits Ms. Rusoff with helping her come out of her shell. “I never would have gotten into theater without her. She makes it real for students,” Ms. Schaeffer said.

The performance will be followed by a question and answer session and refreshments.

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