Oakland plans mummy play

Published 10:39 pm Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Oakland Elementary School students will stretch their theater legs Thursday in a play that was written specifically for their school.

Students will perform “The Mummy’s Purse” June 2 at 6 p.m. for parents, staff and the public in Oakland’s cafeteria. Tickets are $5, and attendees will be served desserts, coffee, tea and water to enjoy during the performance.

The play is set in the basement of the private museum of Sir Lipton T. Bag where a priceless relic, the mummy’s purse, is lost. In addition to exploring how it got lost in the museum, the story of how the purse was originally lost in ancient Egypt is told.

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Students from the third, fourth and fifth grades had the chance to audition to join the play’s cast, stage crew or wait staff.

Rena Long, the music and band teacher directing the play, said this is the first time many of the students have had a chance to perform.

“It’s a wonderful experience,” she said. “It’s a great way for young budding actors and actresses to get their feet wet.”

Long said many of Suffolk’s elementary schools put on monthly musicals for PTA meetings, but Oakland’s production is more involved for the audience and the students.

“It is a unique experience here,” Long said. “It is a little different than what they do at the PTA meetings.”

Long said putting on a play is sometimes challenging because it requires a high level of commitment from the students to attend several after-school practices and memorize their lines.

“It’s a big responsibility, but I think it really gives them the opportunity to shine,” she said. “It gives them an opportunity to grow verbally.”

Long added her favorite part of the process is seeing students find their niche in theater.

About 40 students are participating in the production of “The Mummy’s Purse,” which was specifically written for the school by local playwright P.B. Rogerson.

Rogerson is the mother of Oakland P.E. teacher Anne McCoy.

“The Mummy’s Purse” is one of six plays Rogerson wrote for Oakland, and each year, the productions are rotated, so the students will never see one play more than once during their time at the school.

This is the 12th year Oakland has performed Rogerson’s plays, but Long said it is always a different experience, because the students always put a new spin on the story and the characters.

Long said Rogerson loves to see the students’ interpretation of her writing.

“She loves seeing it, and seeing her work come to life has been a real treat for her,” Long said.

This will be the first time Rogerson isn’t present for the performance, because she will be out of town, but Long said she requested a tape of the performance.

To purchase tickets, contact Oakland Elementary School at 923-5248.