Ferrisburgh students stage a fantastic ‘Mr. Fox’

FERRISBURGH CHILDREN’S THEATRE thespians enchanted an audience of 160 at a Nov. 18 performance of “The Fantastic Mr. Fox.” Photo by Bill Clark

Cici Neffinger performs as Mr. Fox at Ferrisburgh Central School.
Photo by Bill Clark

FERRISBURGH — “These horrible crooks, so different in looks, are nonetheless equally mean!” 

Students of the 5th and 6th grade classes of Ferrisburgh Central School chanted in the darkness, convening on the stage in front of over 160 members of the community filling the gym to capacity on the night of Nov. 18. 

With the apron repainted, burned-out lights replaced, the patched and threadbare golden curtain cleaned and reinstalled, the Ferrisburgh Children’s Theatre was ready to stage its play. On the program was “The Fantastic Mr. Fox,” adapted by Sally Reid, and directed by the team Caroline Griffin, Cyndy Hall and Katherine Yarbrough. 

The technical team led by Yarbrough’s husband Finn, including Reese Matton (tech), Rylan Brunet, Connor Husk, Saskia Jones and Amelia Bynum, and their parents. They worked to maximize the use of limited space and resources to create a set with a trapdoor and a life-size animatronic excavator claw descending from the ceiling! 

“We built the world of the play together,” said Griffin, “where everyone belonged, and in doing so, made ourselves a creative home.” 

The play follows the eponymous Fox, played by Cici Neffinger and Beowulf Yarbrough, as he struggles for survival with his family (Violet Roesch, Elianna Venables-Vogel, Gretchen Hill, Lydia Paquette and Lily Wells), outwitting the cunning farmers Boggis (Casey Clark), Bunce (Addie Gaudette) and Bean (Roxanne Griffin). 

Photo by Bill Clark

Carl Roesch, father of “Mrs. Fox,” shared his impression of his daughter Violet’s creative process: 

“I offered to run lines with her when she got home, but she just told me that she had it.” Shaking his head, he added, “and she did.” 

The moment that the curtains closed, the ensemble erupted in a euphoric scream. In the audience, Bill Clark, father of “Boggis,” turned toward his three older children, all FCS graduates, and found his tears reflected in their eyes. 

Co-director Yarbrough summed up the experience: “I think they all discovered that they are capable of more than they imagined and that they can do truly great, exhilarating things.”

Editor’s note: Thanks to Finn Yarbrough for supplying the story.

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