Pippi, played by Mary Ollen, and her pals cluster around her monkey, Mr. Nelson (Annie Ollen): Photo by Ralph Stewart
Pippi (third from left), played by Mary Ollen, and her pals cluster around her monkey, Mr. Nelson (Annie Ollen). Photo by Ralph Stewart

Young players bring Pippi to town

By Pat Waring - March 23, 2006

Pippi Longstocking is a bundle of energy and wit, first introduced to young readers in three books by Astrid Lingren years ago. Last Friday and Saturday, director Lee Fierro and Her Apprentice Players of Island Theatre Workshop introduced the rambunctious Pippi to Island audiences at Katharine Cornell Theatre in Vineyard Haven. Ms. Fierro chose four scenes from the first book and adapted them for the stage.

When Pippi, a fiery-haired motherless child with an impetuous style, quick wit, mischievous innocence, and exotic background, comes to town and meets the local children, chaos ensues. We watch Pippi work her magic at school, at the circus, and during a fire emergency. Mary Ollen and Olivia Ogden play Pippi and both capture her unique personality well. The other children are effectively amazed and incited by the remarkable Pippi.

The young apprentices seemed right at home on the stage, all maintaining their focus, knowing their lines, and projecting their voices as actors should. Their careful training and weeks of after-school practice were evident in the quality of the performance.

Apprentice Players, a program for elementary school children, begins its spring session on Monday, March 27, 3 pm at Grace Episcopal Church hall, Woodlawn Ave., Vineyard Haven. For information, call 508-693-5290.