Westlake neighbors stage a theatrical end to summer

The cast of "Astrius," a drama written, produced and performed by a young group of Westlake neighbors.

While most families spend their final summer evening going out for ice cream or taking one final dip in the pool, one Westlake neighborhood found a new way to celebrate the end of the summer this year. On Aug. 15, nearly 30 people traveled to a Westlake home to attend the one and only performance of "Astrius," an original drama written by Emily and Adam Schordock. The show’s cast of eight children provided an unforgettable experience with their original production and brought the summer to a more-than-satisfactory close.

The production was staged by the Westlake Mini Playhouse Theatre, which began nearly 10 years ago with Emily and Adam, along with their older brother Scott, writing small one-acts in their home’s basement. Over time, the productions became more and more elaborate going from a simple script to shows consisting of make up, dry ice, sound effects and elaborate lighting. This small theatre became a wonderful way for the siblings to bond.

Being avid readers, Emily and Adam got the idea this past June of starting a book club for the kids in their neighborhood, but as the summer progressed they decided it might be even more fun to bring all the kids together and bring the Westlake Mini Playhouse Theatre back to life.

All the children were very excited about the idea and soon enough a script had been written, the characters had been cast and the two month rehearsal process began. The cast included Jessica Bernath, Anna Craven, Avery and Grant Junkins, Anna and Alex Rendziak, and Adam and Emily Schordock. Each cast member had several lines to memorize and plenty of blocking cues to follow as they prepared to take an audience into the world of "Astrius."

"Astrius" tells the story of Cynthia, a princess cursed at birth by an evil witch to prick her finger on a poisoned apple and die on the day of her thirteenth birthday. When she turns thirteen and her father refuses to tell her why she cannot go outside or eat apples, Cynthia runs away from home in an attempt to learn the truth about her past.

She slowly begins to uncover her story and learns that to save herself from this curse she must find the legendary Astrius: a magical deer trapped in a mirror that has landed in the hands of the same witch that cursed Cynthia! Along with the help of the knight Sir Alex, an ancient wizard and a few fairies, Cynthia travels to fight the witch and free Astrius from his prison.

The production became so large that the cast decided to move the show outside. Tents were pitched as dressing rooms, lawn chairs and blankets were spread and finally the night of the show arrived. Audience members were greeted upon arrival and given a program, then led to their seat in the back yard.

Everyone who attended the production was amazed at how well all the kids got along and were blown away by their professional attitude. Cast members even autographed programs following the performance while the moms set up a potluck dinner.

"Astrius" was, needless to say, a success. The cast was very happy with their performance and hope to perform again with the Westlake Mini Playhouse Theatre. Emily and Adam have even already begun to plan a Halloween-themed fall production for late October.

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Volume 4, Issue 19, Posted 10:01 AM, 09.18.2012