by Dennis Dalman
An elf, a troll, a goblin and a dwarf are four roles in the upcoming production of “The Hobbit,” all played by Sartell actors Elijah Walls, Julia Hemminger and Shane Corbett.
The GREAT Theatre production, directed by Ted Brown, opens Oct. 12 at the Paramount Theatre in St. Cloud. There are 34 local actors of all ages in the play, which is based on the classic novel by J.R.R. Tolkien. Play times are 7 p.m. Fridays, Oct. 12 and 19; 2 and 7 p.m. Saturdays, Oct. 13 and 20; and 2 p.m. Sundays, Oct. 14 and 21.
For tickets, go online to GreatTheatre.org or call the ticket office at 259-5463.
Eleven-year-old Shane Corbett, a student at St. Francis Xavier Elementary School, plays a dwarf named Dwalin in “The Hobbit.”
“It’s a small part, but not a tiny part,” Corbett said. “I don’t have a lot of lines. Dwalin is a nice dwarf. He hangs around with his older brother a lot – a dwarf named Balin. Balin is wise and old.”
For his role, Corbett will wear a red shirt, green vest and a hood on his head.
“The Hobbit is the fourth time Corbett has performed in GREAT Theatre productions. His others were “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat,” “Oliver!” and “A Christmas Carol,” as well as performances in GREAT Theatre summer camps. He has also acted in plays at school.
“In my first play I was very nervous,” Corbett recalled. “But now I’m used to it. Acting is a lot of fun now. I hope to keep acting. I don’t plan on stopping.”
Shane is the son of Phil and Kelly Corbett.
Elijah Walls, 12, a student at Sartell Middle School, plays one of the elves.
“I’m just an elf,” he said. “I get to talk only once.”
For his role, Walls will wear brown tights and a green shirt with leaves all over it. He also wears a bow-and-arrow quiver on his back.
“In the Hobbit, there are two kinds of elves,” Walls said. “At first the elves are kind of silly, then later they begin not to trust anybody.”
Walls said he thinks audiences will be dazzled by the props and scenery in “The Hobbit.”
“The props are just awesome,” he said. “At first there is peaceful scenery, then there are misty mountains and then it gets kind of spooky with trees.”
Walls and his fellow actors have been rehearsing for about a month.
“I like to be able to act out, and it’s fun to move around on stage instead of sitting in a desk at school all day.”
Walls said he is not at all nervous about being on stage in front of an audience.
“I was in two other plays that were organized by GREAT Theatre – ‘Chronicles of Narnia’ and ‘Grease.'” he said. “In those plays I wasn’t nervous, either, because the lights were shining so bright I could only see people in the first two rows. Acting is fun for me, and I’m going to keep doing it.”
Elijah is the son of Dennis and Freddi Walls.
Julie Hemmiger has two roles in “The Hobbit” – a troll named Essie and a goblin.
“The trolls in the play are filthy, hideous, dirty creatures and not the brightest,” Hemminger said. “The goblins have two emotions – fear and anger. They’d been tortured, and that is why.”
Hemminger was glad to get roles in “The Hobbit,” as she has been keeping her ears open for a play without music in it. Her musical abilities are – well – limited, she said.
In high school, Hemminger, who is originally from Cold Spring, enjoyed acting in school theater productions. She also performed in plays while a student at St. Cloud State University, where she earned degrees in mass communications and political science. She also did work as an actor in flims during that time.
“This play is a lot of fun,” she said. “As a goblin, I have a fight scene, and I get to fight with a sword.”
Hemminger is a receptionist at the Center for Diagnostic Imaging, which is part of the St. Cloud Medical Group.
“The Hobbit” is such a famous book most people are probably familiar with its plot.
Bilbo Baggins is a well-off hobbit who loves adventure stories. Real adventures, however, he steers clear of. When Gandalf the wizard knocks at Baggins’ door with ragged dwarfs, Baggins learns he is expected to recover a lost treasure. At first, Baggins scoffs, but then, because he so loves a good story, he lets himself get drawn into the perilous quest over mountains, under hills, through forests and caves and some slimy dark and dangerous places.
One interesting note about “The Hobbit” is 84 local volunteers knitted and crocheted squares, rectangles and hoods and then sewed them together to create the eye-catching costumes in the production.