Epic battle takes to stage

Dwarves and goblins, epic battles and stolen treasure – the Mid-Ohio Valley Players Youth Theatre production will offer up excitement for the whole family this weekend.

A cast of nearly 30 area students will present “The Hobbit” a play based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic book of the same title.

The play was last performed by the MOVP Youth Theatre over 10 years ago, but the timing this time around is perfect, said JR Wells, who is co-directing with Carla Nichols and Sue Boyer.

“The second ‘Hobbit’ movie is coming out the same weekend,” said Wells.

The well-known story was chosen at least in part because several students requested it.

“One of the kids that requested it had seen it as a younger kid and another kid had an older sibling in it,” said Wells.

The cast is made up of sixth- through twelfth-graders from a variety of area schools.

Warren High School senior Timmy Kinker, 18, has been participating in Mid-Ohio Valley Players Youth Theatre productions since sixth grade and has always wanted to put on “The Hobbit”.

“Every six-year-old boy as nerdy as I am wants to do ‘The Hobbit’,” he said.

Tinker plays Gandalf, a wizard who drags unadventurous hobbit Bilbo Baggins on a life-changing quest to help a group of dwarves win back a stolen treasure.

The play is less serious than in previous years, which makes it more fun, said Tinker.

It also has a battle scene between dwarves and goblins-a favorite among the cast, said Wells.

“We had to choreograph the fight scene and we spent one entire night doing it … That’s one of the things they really get into,” said Wells.

Because the kids come from a variety of area schools, they have also had a chance to meet new people.

Shane Johnson, a sixth-grader participating in his first MOVP production, said he has met a lot of new people.

“The other guys are great,” said Johnson, 11, who plays both a goblin and an elf.

“The Hobbit” served as the precursor for Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” series, which Johnson has read in its entirety.

Marietta High School senior Sarah Rauch, 17, has also been participating in youth productions since sixth grade and said the plays have given her a chance to meet new friends from other schools.

Rauch’s character, Gollum, is a strange little creature whom she describes as “a little bit crazy”.

Playing an fantasy character has been fun, she said.

“You feel like a little kid again and I’m sure the audience will feel that way when they watch it,” she said.