Ava Fuller, director Bonne Smith and Emily Loucks go over a script for “The Phantom Tollbooth.” (Pete Griffin)

Ava Fuller, director Bonne Smith and Emily Loucks go over a script for “The Phantom Tollbooth.” (Pete Griffin)

OTA casts children’s production of ‘Phantom Tollbooth’

SEQUIM — Tickets will be on sale beginning today for “The Phantom Tollbooth” at Olympic Theatre Arts.

For the fourth summer production and second season opener for Olympic Theatre Arts, more than 20 children from ages 8 to 15, with scripts in hand for the table read for “The Phantom Tollbooth” by Susan Nanus, based on a book by Norton Juster.

“Phantom Tollbooth” performances are planned from Aug. 31 to Sept. 9.

Tickets will be available online at http://olympic theatrearts.org/OTA/ or at 360-683-7326. They are $12 for the public, $10 for OTA members.

“I had to slow them down — they were stuffing themselves with the elegant language and conundrums,” said Bonne Smith, director.

“The excitement was palpable. Voices soared as they tried on the sentences which gave way to laughter, surprise and them getting the inside-out jokes.

“As the story unfolded the actors embraced their characters with flair, fits and spark,” she continued. “They really enjoyed the industrial strength word battles.”

The OTA children’s troupe brings veteran child actors to the stage for the 2018-19 season opening along with some first-time stage acting explorers.

Grayce Houle, who attended the OTA summer week-long Theater Skills class and signed up for “The Phantom Tollbooth,” embraced her character, the Horrible Dynne, with engaging sound effects.

Sweet Rhyme, played by Emily Louck, was swinging Rhyme’s lines into a rap.

“Our youngest participant, Sage Moody, who also attended the OTA summer class, signed up for ‘Phantom Tollbooth’ as a demon bringing his brother, Leif, who wants to help backstage,” Smith said.

Kenzi Camp, an OTA youth acting veteran, loves her character Humbug’s lines, especially saying words such as “balderdash,” “bosh,” and “pure bosh.” Kenzi found Humbug’s personality interesting and she said it will push her to make choices in how to act Humbug’s story.

Amelie Mantchev, another OTA child veteran, plays Tock the dog and is also the costume designer. Amelie’s mash-up vision — a Futuristic Victorian view — endows the Land of Wisdom with a sci-fi fantasy twist.

“The Phantom Tollbooth” looks at words, about how our language is used and changes over time.

“Every word counts,” Smith said. “Time is a gift, given to you, given to give you the time you need, the time you need to have the time of your life.”

OTA’s Children’s’ Theatre program is committed to introducing community youth to the magic of live theater, helping foster self-esteem, self-confidence and teamwork.

Emily Loucks, Kate Snook, Ruby Coulson, Abby Sanford and Amélie Mantchev get ready for a reading of “The Phantom Tollbooth.” (Pete Griffin)

Emily Loucks, Kate Snook, Ruby Coulson, Abby Sanford and Amélie Mantchev get ready for a reading of “The Phantom Tollbooth.” (Pete Griffin)

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