Teens challenged to put their own spin on classic stories

Aurora Jolley, seated, and Kaleb Gatlin take part in the Teen Scene Theater for Teens improvisation program at the Queen Creek Library. Participants will tackle the tale “Hansel and Gretel” March 5 and “Three Billy Goats Gruff” by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen March 19. (Photo credit: Queen Creek Library)

Aurora Jolley takes pleasure in “harping” on the details of her last Teen Scene event at the Queen Creek Library.

That’s because she took on the role of the musical instrument — but the golden kind and with plenty of attitude — when participants improvised their version of the classic fairy tale “Jack and the Beanstalk.”

“My character of the golden harp was hilarious. I made it sort of annoyed with the predicament,” said Aurora, who just turned 14, by phone.

Librarian Carl Smith oversees the Teen Scene: Theater for Teens program at the Queen Creek branch.

He said he has been working with a core group of teenagers ages 12-18 for the past three months.

Mr. Smith joined the library staff in September. Before moving to Arizona, he was a member of the Ship of Fools improv group in Colorado.

He is using his background in the theater to put on the sessions locally because he considers improvisation a great outlet for adults and children, he said by phone.

The Theater for Teens series challenges its cast to reinterpret classic stories and fairy tales.

Members sit in a circle and review print copies of the stories pulled from the library shelves.

They first talk through a story, and then fire up their imaginations to put a fun or interesting twist on it, Mr. Smith said.

They then stand up and act out their new and improved version.

Two improv sessions are scheduled for March: “Hansel and Gretel” March 5 and “Three Billy Goats Gruff” March 19.

All sessions take place 4:15-5:45 p.m. in the library’s Mary Lou Fulton Story Time room.

Registration information is available on the Maricopa County Library District website: mcldaz.org.

Aurora is already contemplating which character she’d like to reinterpret for “Hansel and Gretel.”

News Editor Wendy Miller can be contacted at 480-982-7799 and via e-mail at qcnews@newszap.com, or follow her on Twitter @WendyNewszap123.

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