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Aurora students present 'Emperor's New Clothes'

Students at Aurora Elementary School presented "The Emperor's New Clothes," on Saturday, April 5, with two shows at 2:00 and 4:30 p.m. The production was directed by Judith A. Young, and sponsored by the Aurora PTO.

According to Lynne Olien, who emceed the production, close to 50 students in grades one through five auditioned for parts. Determined to make sure everyone had a chance to be in the play, Young quickly rewrote the script to accommodate the larger cast.

In the new version, Peter the tailor, who tricked the Emperor into believing he had sewn him beautiful new garments out of imaginary threads, was played by six different students. There were also two Emperors, two Empresses, and two grandmothers. The transition from one cast member playing a role to the next was cleverly blended into the plot by having the students tag off with a handshake. Color-coded capes helped the audiences recognize role transitions as well. Each group of cast members wore matching capes to identify their parts. The six Peters wore bright red capes, the Emperors and Empresses wore blue capes to signify royalty, and the grandmothers wore calico capes.

Audience participation added an unexpected flare to the production. When Peter promised to sew magic clothes for the Emperor, students held up cards in front of the audience, asking one section to "hum," one section to "buzz," and another section to "whir," as they pretended to sew the imaginary clothing. At one point, Peter walked confidently up to the audience, and told them, "This is the good part," getting a chuckle from the audience.

When the royal procession to show off the Emperor's new clothes began, the Emperor came out wearing a T-shirt and bright green polka dotted boxer shorts. Humor and enthusiasm, blended together, made the production a big success.