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The Little Mermaid presented by Colleton Children’s Theater

Like most little girls, Jordan Slocum and Becca Martin giggle when they talk about their dream of being a mermaid like “Ariel,” the red-haired and beloved character in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.” Jordan and Becca’s dreams came true this past weekend, when the play came to life at Walterboro’s Hampton Street Auditorium.

“The best part of being a mermaid is getting to wear a tail,” said a proud Jordan. When asked what the secret to being a great mermaid is, Jordan quietly says, “Being kind is the most important thing.”

At the tender age of 8, Jordan has already been in four plays produced by the Colleton Children’s Theater. This past weekend’s production marked the first play for the children’s theater this year. But it is far from the first for theater co-director Jenny Bunton. Fellow directors David Nay and Campbell Trippe assist Bunton as they turn plays like “The Little Mermaid” into stunning visual performances. “I think we are nearing the 20 mark,” she said, about how many plays she has produced with the Colleton Children’s Theater. Surrounded by dozens of parents and volunteers, Bunton supervises the plays and the mass of children in them. A record 90 children from across the county participated in Saturday and Sunday’s production of “The Little Mermaid.” “It’s one of the biggest casts we’ve ever had,” she said. “The whole cast is amazing – we are blessed every time, but this cast has gone above and beyond.”

The play sold out of its school seats, bringing in more than 900 children from Lowcountry-area schools. At the center of the play’s stage sits Maya DeSantis, a 12-year-old at Colleton Middle School. Acting in her first role with the children’s theater, DeSantis tackled the lead role with ease. She and more than half of the play’s cast had debut roles in this production, according to Bunton. “I always want to go for the biggest thing there is,” DeSantis said, of her wanting to play Ariel. “The best thing about being Ariel is the cast.” DeSantis says singing is her favorite part of being in the play, a talent that she hopes to pursue as a career.

Also cast in the play’s biggest lead roles was Carlisle Griffin as the villain Ursula and Patrick Lyons, who played Sebastian the crab.

But no matter the role or the character, it all comes down to magic. No one knows that better than 9-year-old Becca, who was mesmerized with her shiny mermaid costume. “My favorite thing about being on stage is the lights,” she said, proudly. “The Little Mermaid” was her fourth play with the theater. “Well, the lights and splashing my tail,” she said. “I’ve always dreamed about being a mermaid.” Now that one dream is accomplished, Becca says she wants to tackle her next hopeful role: “Being a ballerina one day would be awesome,” she said.

The Colleton’s Children’s Theater is sponsored solely by donations from the community and area businesses, and has been in the community for 13 years. Some of its longest-serving volunteers have the biggest parts in all of the plays: volunteer Susanne Morley designs the backdrops and creates the props, and Kathy Hunter helps to create the costumes. “The interest is still huge. It makes me want to keep going,” said Bunton.

For more information on upcoming productions, visit the theater’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/colletonchildren’stheater.

Heather Walters (1389 Posts)