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DLCCC Afterschool Program presents 'The Magi' on Monday

Since September, the 18 kids enrolled in the Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center's first-ever Afterschool Program have been hard at work, creating an original theatrical production to be presented on the stage of the DLCCC's Historic Holmes Theatre.

Though it premiered on Friday, Dec. 8, the public will have one more opportunity to view the production on Monday, Dec. 11, at 4:15 p.m., as part of the DLCCC's fifth anniversary celebration. The performance is free and open to the public.

This production, "The Magi," was the brainchild of Lorraine Bahr, who serves as the program's theater instructor. Based on the classic O. Henry short story, The Gift of the Magi, the tale also incorporates elements of the Christmas carol, "We Three Kings," the nursery rhyme "Hark, Hark, the Dogs Do Bark," and even a couple of Christmas angels.

"We needed to have 18 parts," Bahr explained. What made the project so challenging, she added, was the fact that the program's participants range from 5-10 years of age.

"These are definitely the youngest actors I've ever worked with," she said. But after several years of teaching theater at a Young Musicians and Artists Camp every summer in Oregon, Bahr welcomed that challenge.

"I've enjoyed it very much," she added. "It's exhausting, but the kids have really been getting the things I've tried to teach them about acting, and the theater."

In fact, Bahr has enjoyed the experience so much that she's signed up for another semester. Starting in the spring, she will be offering another afterschool program -- but this one will be focused on play writing rather than acting.

"The older kids will each write a short play, and the younger kids will work together to write a play as a group," Bahr said. Rather than staging a theatrical production like "The Magi," however, the spring program will culminate in a public reading of all the students' plays. She also hopes to continue the program next fall, with the staging of another theatrical production.

Just like this fall's afterschool program, the spring program will also include a fitness element. Bahr has been meeting with the students for two-hour sessions, three days a week, while the other two weekdays are centered around fitness activities, supervised by DLCCC staff. All theater and fitness sessions run from 3:30-5:30 p.m.

Though the participants' theater sessions will end on Tuesday, they will continue to participate in fitness activities at the DLCCC until the start of the holiday break at DL public schools. The program is designed to coincide with the school calendar, Bahr explained -- on days when school is not in session, there are no afterschool activities scheduled at the DLCCC.

For more information about the spring afterschool program, contact the DLCCC at 218-844-4221, or the Historic Holmes Theatre Box Office at 218-844-SHOW (7469).

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454