Local students taking original play about Nevada's history to an international stage

Reported by: Ashley Cullins
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Updated: 1/25 12:46 pm
RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- Some local theatre students will be taking the international stage this year, and they're bringing a little bit of the silver state with them through their original play based on Nevada's history.

4,4800: that's how many miles the kids from Sage Ridge School will be traveling from Reno to Scotland to perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world.

"There's a lot of layers and layers to the story," Sage Ridge theatre director Cameron Crain said.

Crain is talking about the story of the silver state. He said across the pond people's impressions of Nevada are limited.

"'Oh Vegas! Go gambling. Oh Sin City,'" he said. "I was like 'you know there's a lot more to it than that.'"

So he  set out to rewrite their opinions by writing an original play for his students to perform at Festival Fringe in Scotland.

"This is an opportunity to enlighten people, educate people and also laugh a bit about our colorful history because, let's face it, we've got some interesting stories," Crain said.

7th grade student Matt Hutchinson said he's been acting since he was five, but this play will be a first.

"I'm really excited 'cause it's cool for a change," Hutchinson said. "There's not too many plays about history and especially not about Nevada history."

"We've got a time-traveling TV show that debunks myths," Crain said. "So they go back into time in Nevada to cover what happened in 1864."

Junior David Newman said by working on the play the students are learning the truth behind the myths too.

"Nevada wasn't founded for economic reasons," Newman said. "I always thought it was just for the silver and gold, but I never knew it was just for votes to get Abraham Lincoln reelected."

Lincoln plays a prominent role in their performance.

"Imagine President Lincoln striding out on stage and saying 'Nevahda,'" Crain said. "He gets corrected by one of our student historians."

"Abe Lincoln is a hilarious character," said sophomore Audrey Thompson. "You'd think he's like boring and he speaks like 'oh I am Lincoln' but no, he's pretty interesting."

Thompson wasn't crazy about the idea for the play, but now that she's seeing it in action she's changing her mind.

"It's like history in an entertaining way," Thompson said.

"The history is really fun," Crain said. "I'm trying the material out on the kids and they're great. 'Cause they'll constantly tell me 'no, Crain, that's terrible.'"

There's 150 years of material to work with.

"Nevada has a very deep history and you can take a lot from that," Hutchinson said. "I think it has a lot of potential to become a really good play."

Once it's done they'll perform across the globe for about six months leading up to the sesquicentennial celebration in Nevada. 

"In May is when we open here at the school at Crossbow Stage," Crain said. "Then we're going to be a part of Artown in July before we leave. Then at the end of July we fly to London and we take the train from London to Edinburgh and we'll be performing at Edinburgh in August.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a dream come true for Crain's dedicated students.

"Theatre is something I'm really passionate about in this school and something I'm really interested in doing, so when I heard that we're able to go to The Fringe and be able to go to Scotland and perform at one of the largest theatre festivals in the world it was obviously very exciting for me," Newman said. "It's definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity"

They're trying to raise about $80 thousand for the trip, and so far they've raised about half of that.

If you'd like to help the kids get to Scotland, the school will be holding fundraisers soon. There's a Winter Fest variety show on January 30-31, and a dinner theatre event on February 1.

You can also write a check to "Sage Ridge School" with "Battle Born" in the subject line and mail it to the school at 2515 Crossbow Ct., Reno, NV, 89511.

For more information, you can email Cameron Crain at ccrain@sageridge.org.
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don't forget to correct their pronounciation of "nevada", that's the American whey
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