Students hope 'bewitching' story will raise funds for cancer research
A two-day production of Bell, Book and Candle, at Fairfield Warde High School, May 28--29, will be a grand finale to a student group's four-year effort in raising money for cancer research.
The theater production, which is completely student-run, will be directed by Emily Molina, a senior, who is working on behalf of Team Threads to raise money for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, which takes place in Fairfield June 12.
"Team Threads is a group of Fairfield Warde students who consider the cause of fighting cancer to be near and dear to our hearts," she explained. "We all know someone whose life has been affected by cancer. We are inspired by survivors, including our school's theater director Mark Frattaroli, who was diagnosed with leukemia last year. We also commemorate those who lost their lives because of this disease."
Team Threads, comprised of seniors at Fairfield Warde, has aided this charitable cause since their freshman year in high school. "This is the first year we have put on a show," notes Molina. "Mostly, we have done bake sales and car washes." She estimates that since its inception, Team Threads has earned between $4,000 and $5,000 to support cancer research.
The Bell, Book and Candle production, feeds on Molina's passion for theater. "I am directing this show, but really like doing technical work," she said. "I have loved theater since I was in middle school. I hope to minor in theater while I attend college." She plans to begin courses at Fairfield University in the fall.
Students involved with the production also include actors Jenn Sonnick, Nick Salese, Jordan Mann, Cathleen Lisk and Brendan Quinn. Andrew Pane and Michelle Blau are working on the technical end of the production.
Molina said she picked this particular piece because it is a comedy and because it demands a small-size ensemble. "This is my first time directing," she said. "I wanted to keep it manageable."
She added, "This is a really great romantic comedy, some of the scenes are hilarious."
According to the website imdb.com, Bell, Book and Candle, written by John Van Druten, tells the story of "Gillian Holroyd, a modern-day, witch, living in a New York apartment. When handsome publisher Shep Henderson walks into her building, Gillian decides she wants him -- especially as it turns out he's marrying Merle Kittridge, an old poison pen pal from Gillian's college days. Gillian casts a spell over Shep, but discovers that her powers are in danger of being exorcised by something stronger than the bell-book-and-candle routine: love."
Molina reported, "The moral of the story is that what you want most in life often requires sacrifice." She hopes to raise about $1,000 during the show's two-day run. Proceeds from a bake sale, which will be held concurrently with the performances, also will support Relay for Life.
Performances will take place at Fairfield Warde's Black Box Theater May 28-29 at 8 p.m. There is no set admission cost, but Molina does request free-will donations. All tickets will be sold at the door.
She noted that her Relay for Life fundraising efforts are, in part, pay tribute to her grandmother, Elizabeth Skudrzyk, who died when Molina was six weeks old.
"My grandmother was diagnosed with melanoma and took a prognosis that gave her as few months to live, and added four years to it," said Molina. "She was quite a fighter and I admire her for that. I have heard wonderful things about her and I truly regret that I did not have the opportunity to know her."
She is hopeful that Team Threads will be able to continue its fund-raising efforts after high school graduation.
The American Cancer Society Relay For Life takes place locally Saturday and Sunday, June 12-13, at Fairfield Ludlowe High School.
The event aims to give communities across the globe a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease. At The American Cancer Society Relay For Life, teams of people camp out at a local high school, park, or fairground and take turns walking or running around a track or path. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event. Because cancer never sleeps, the events are overnight and last up to 24 hours in length.
For information on the Relay for Life, e-mail Paula.Dittrich@cancer.org or call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345.