The Franklinton Area Community Theatre will present a new play in November.
By Jonathan McNamara
FRANKLINTON — The musical tale of kindness to animals and animal kindness trots, crawls and flies onto stage at Franklinton High School Nov. 15 and 16.
The Franklinton Area Community Theater (FACT) will perform its first play of the year, Doctor Dolittle Jr., with a 30-member cast between ages 4-18.
“We started in August and practice every Thursday at the Franklinton High auditorium with Saturday practice once in a while,” said Director Lisa Lawrence.
Lawrence has been directing plays for FACT for the past nine years. She directs two plays per year, in the fall and the spring.
“They try to learn most of the words to the songs outside of practice, then we put it all together here,” she said.
Taking a grassroots approach by making all the costumes, props and the set, FACT has come a long way in the past decade.
Lawrence, also the drama teacher at Franklinton High started as an English teacher at the old high school in town.
Having her students rewrite Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House in a modern format, they decided they wanted to try acting it out as a play.
They were able to use the old auditorium at the former high school now, a middle school.
“It ended up being really good,” said Lawrence.
After their initial success they decided to perform for other classes and then their parents.
“They decided to charge their parents,” she added.
“We ended up with about $400 and we had a great time. It just went from there,” she said.
Little Shop of Horrors was the first play they learned after A Doll’s House.
“Its amazing to see a kid that barely wants to make eye contact from being so shy become a different person on stage. It’s really cool,” said Lawrence.
Evolving into more of a children’s community theater, despite failed efforts of trying to get adults to participate, FACT gives kids from all over the area an opportunity to perform on stage.
“We have students from Franklinton High, Cedar Creek Elementary, Youngsville Elementary, Wake Forest and several home school families,” said Lawrence.
“This is one of the main outlets for homeschool children to be around other kids,” she added.
FACT is free to participate in and is open to the public. They are funded through donations, admission and selling ads in their program. They also get assistance from the Franklin County Arts Council.
FACT has also performed The Wizard of Oz, Disney’s The Little Mermaid and Suessical.
For dress rehearsals they offer two performances for local elementary schools, as a field trip, where students come to the new high school and see the play free before FACT performs for the public.
The parents play a big part in the success of FACT. As their kids audition for plays, parents often sign up for committees, such as helping the business side, rides to practice and advertisement.
“It’s all parent-driven,” said Lawrence. “That’s what makes this work.”
Doctor Dolittle Jr. is a musical that tells the tale of a wacky but kind doctor who can talk to animals.
Tickets are $5 and can be purchased the night of the performances at Franklinton High auditorium, 910 Cedar Creek Road, Franklinton.