After a 10-year hiatus from the Geneva Theatre Guild Youth Theatre, Professor of Education Pat Collins P’09 has returned to direct the Youth Theatre’s production of “HONK!” this summer. Collins describes “HONK!” as a “poignant yet hilarious contemporary rock version of the Ugly Duckling.” It will be performed at the Geneva High School Auditorium, Friday, Aug. 1 through Sunday, Aug. 3.
The primary goal of the Youth Theatre, which is in its 29th year, is to provide local young people with an opportunity to make theatre which is not only entertaining, but is also educationally and artistically valuable.
“HONK! addresses that goal by highlighting the importance of individual difference and diversity and helping all of us -young and old alike-better understand the importance of how we treat people who are different from us,” says Collins, who notes that “HONK!” is not just a play for children but is a play by young people which will appeal to people of all ages. His hope is that everyone will leave the theatre both entertained and perhaps a bit more enlightened.
In 1986, Collins helped establish the Geneva Theatre Guild Youth Theatre and headed that organization until 2004. In partnership with the Geneva Theatre Guild and the Geneva Recreation Department, he founded the Nancy Curvin Playground Players, and for many years directed and produced plays for the Geneva High School Drama Club. Collins started volunteering with the Boys and Girls Club in its first year of existence, working with children in arts and literacy programming. He was named “The Boys and Girls Club Volunteer of the Year for 2010.” In 2011, the Black Box Theater at the Geneva Community Center was named for him.
In addition, he has directed several children’s plays at Hobart and William Smith, producing main stage productions for school-aged audiences in conjunction with his course, “Theatre and the Child.” In 2009, he was one of the first recipients of the Theatre Association of New York Fredric Blumberg Distinguished Volunteer Award.
The cast and crew of “HONK!” is comprised of 30 local students in the fourth through 12th grades who portray a wide range of characters including ducklings, geese, swans, chickens, a turkey and a villainous cat as well as dancing frogs, fish and stage hands.
Collins is being assisted on the production by Christine Sauter Milligan ’81, as music director; Kat McCorkle, assistant director and choreographer; and Kaylee Millerd, as choregrapher and conductor. Costume design is by Luann Preston Wilsey with help from Victoria Lehman’ 88 and Sharyn Powell. Set design is by local artist Cherry Rahn with scenography by Annie Wilsey and set construction by Bill Burd, technical director of Bartlett Theatre at HWS. Sound design is by Terren Waranis and Robert Lamb has served as technical assistant.
Performances of HONK! will take place at the Geneva High School auditorium on Aug. 1 and 2, at 7 p.m., and on Aug. 3 at 2 p.m. Tickets are available at AREA Records and at the door and cost $10 for adults, $8 for students and senior citizens and $5 for children under five. More information is available online at gtglive.org, or by calling 315-945-1528.
“HONK!” is presented by special arrangement with Music Theatre International of New York.