Lake Norman Publications

Pumpkin Center Intermediate continues sweet theater tradition

Drama students rehearse “The Wizard of Oz, the Deleted Scene.” /Michelle T. Bernard

PUMPKIN CENTER – It’s a privilege to be a member of the drama club at Pumpkin Center Intermediate (PCI) because not everyone who applies is selected. This year more than 60 students auditioned and 43 made the cut.

That group has taken ownership of the performance of “The Wizard of Oz, the Deleted Scene.” The club is in its 18th year of annual performances held at the school that include a large selection of desserts donated by area restaurants. 

Rachel Masters, a PCI fifth-grade teacher, was one of the club founders. 

“It’s divided into three groups, the acting and two art groups, one does the props and scenery and a costume group that makes all the costumes,” she said. “When it all comes together, it’s magical.”

Taking part in this club builds confidence, according to Masters. 

“I’ve seen some who’ve started with me go on to middle and high school and continue with drama,” she said. “Some go to the Lincoln Theatre Guild and do some plays there. It’s nice to see them branch out and become the best versions of themselves. It gives them another place to be successful besides just academics.”

Masters is assisted by PCI teachers Amber Akers, Brittany Hamlin, Miki Miller, Alison Shive and Kristen Casey-Lewis.

This play follows Dorothy, played by Violet Ruffing, who detours from the yellow brick road and faces all sorts of predicaments along the way. Ruffing, a fifth grader, has been in drama club for two years. She plans to continue acting in middle and high school.

“I like that we get to express the emotions of our character and put our life into that character’s mindset and body,” she said. “I think acting makes me more emotionally strong.”

Brinkley Dedmond, a fifth grader, is a costume crew member. She started sewing with her mother when she was six. For this production, she’s designed costumes for Dorothy and Glendalina.

“I love how you get to design the costumes and put what you want into it,” she said. “You can change it from what it was with the original character. It makes me proud to see the performance.”

Another fifth grader, Mackenzie “Mac” Lewis, is on props and scene design. 

“I love art,” she said. “I was nervous when I tried out last year. I really liked it and decided to do it this year. We’re making the backdrops for the poppy field, the dark forest, the corn cobs and all that.”

Mac’s twin sister, Reagan Lewis, is on the acting side. This is also her second year in the drama club.

“I like that I get to perform in front of people and all the hard work we put into it and it goes to good use,” she said. “I’m playing Glendalina in this one and there’s three different costume changes.”

One of the things Principal Murphy Post likes about the club is it is entirely student driven.

“It’s a privilege to be a part of it,” he said. “The students take a lot of ownership and pride in it. That’s something I think is unique with it.”

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