‘Frosty’ weather can’t halt play

Billy (left) played by Kyle Maloney, freshman theatre major and Meredith, played by Mica Conner, freshman theatre major, shape Frosty the Snowman, played by Steven Nolkemper, freshman theatre major. The childrens play was presented Dec. 1 and 2.

Billy (left) played by Kyle Maloney, freshman theatre major and Meredith, played by Mica Conner, freshman theatre major, shape Frosty the Snowman, played by Steven Nolkemper, freshman theatre major. The children’s play was presented Dec. 1 and 2.

Alexandra Nicolas

A popular children’s tale was brought to life; not with a silk top hat or a button nose, but with actors from Missouri Southern.

Southern Theatre performed its adapted version of the classic holiday tale Frosty the Snowman Dec. 2-3 despite the heavy snowfall that closed campus.

Despite the snow, both performances happened on schedule with what spectators described as a “good turnout” with more than 800 audience members, despite the weather.

“The show goes on whether you play to five or 500,” said Lyle Burrow, instructor of theatre and director of the production. Though most of the main roads were clear by curtain time, not all the work that went into the production was done by the actors.

“The physical plant staff worked really hard on the sidewalks and parking lots to make sure that patrons could safely park and get to the theatre,” Burrow said.

The original story was re-written by Pam Claussen; Sam Claussen, professor of theatre; and Burrow.

The rewrite began in May 2006 and has continued up to the weeks before the production. The rewrite sought to give the play a more personal element make it seem more real.

“We had a wonderful time creating characters with inspirations from friends and family,” Pam Claussen said. “They aren’t exactly those people but sparks pf personalities, much like the nutmeg you sprinkle on eggnog.”

The production of Frosty the Snowman is designated as a children’s play, meaning it is “kid friendly” and has an earlier curtain time. Southern Theatre typically produces shows for a general audience, not catering specifically to children. Actors in the production have learned to adjust their performance to their audience.

“A children’s play requires a lot of energy from the actors,” said Kyle Maloney, freshman theatre major, who plays Billy. The actors also have learned the finer points of performing for a children’s show as opposed to an older and more mature audience. A children’s show will contain more physical comedy as well as a more basic dialogue. A children’s audience is also not shy about displaying emotion.

“The audiences reactions are unpredictable,” said Mica Conner, freshman theatre major, who plays Meredith. “Kids are so full of life and are so appreciative.”

Children’s appreciation of theatre is one of the main goals of the cast and crew. Children from local schools will be viewing the play with their classmates and families will be in attendance, as well. Southern Theatre does an average of two children’s shows a year and hopes children will grow to regard theatre equal to TV or video games.

“Without question, children need to be exposed to theatrical productions at an early age,” Maloney said. “I never was, and I think I missed out on a lot.”

Members of Southern Theatre’s faculty and staff also have experienced the effects of a children’s play years after the last set piece was dismantled.

“You can’t feel much better than when a child tells you several years later that you were their favorite in a play they saw at MSSU,” Pam Claussen said.

Though a children’s play requires actors to alter their performances and expand their horizons, the performers in this season’s holiday play took just as much enjoyment from it.

“I love them both,” Maloney said. “My passion is to act, regardless of the audience.”