Despite frigid temperatures, Klaglahachie Fine Arts Association’s Anne of Green Gables opening weekend warmed the hearts of fans.
A strong assortment of experienced and new actors complement the cast of characters for the popular play, but the lead role of Anne, played by 15-year-old Bailey Atkinson, has taken her love of singing to create a memorable character.
This is Atkinson’s first time acting in a larger production other than in elementary school, yet she played the part like a pro.
“I just wanted to sing and go on stage,” said Atkinson.
Despite only seeing Anne of Green Gables recently, Atkinson developed the lead role with guidance from director Kevin Ferguson and her own thoughts of how she should be. Her singing abilities also brought a strong musical presence to the play’s songs, bringing the character of Anne alive.
“It just always gives me joy to make fun of myself and be funny. When I get laughs that’s what I really love,” said Atkinson.
Playing the part of Matthew Cuthbert is Perry Wilson. Despite health issues, Cuthbert sees a free spirit in Anne and they become fast friends after she is adopted by him and his sister Marilla Cuthbert, played by Rhonda Merrick.
Matthew tries to balance what appear at first to be two polar opposite personalities in the characters of Marilla and Anne.
“There’s a big change that takes place in Matthew’s life when Anne comes along because he is dominated by his sister and he doesn’t actually know how to love somebody overtly,” said Wilson.
“He’s gotta play both those sides. I think that’s what makes this character so enjoyable to play,” he added.
Merrick plays Mathew’s sister Marilla, who appears quite stern, but eventually opens her heart to Anne. “She actually sees herself in Anne,” said Merrick.
“She realizes that this young lady has opened up her heart to love again because Marilla got her heart broken,” said Merrick referring to some of the story in the play.
Merrick said being part of this year’s production has been a fun journey with a wonderful cast of characters. Those characters helped add to the story and bring colour to the small community, which is set in Prince Edward Island.
The next shows for Anne of Green Gables are Dec. 5 to 7 and Dec. 12 and 13. For times and tickets call 403-783-4087.