The newly formed Young Actors Guild will hit the Smyrna Opera House stage this weekend with its interpretation of "Treasure Island." Several cast members took time in between rehearsing scenes this week to discuss YAG
, their characters and more.

After two solid months of rehearsals, the newly formed Young Actors Guild will present its first production, “Treasure Island” this weekend at the Smyrna Opera House. YAG Vice President Barbara Bigelow said the 20-member cast has a few experience young actors but also represents newcomers who have slipped through the theatrical cracks.

“Many of these kids have not been in the theater before so this is a new opportunity for them,” Bigelow said on the first night of tech week, adding that they’ve all worked hard, though, putting in six hours a week to learn lines and staging.

YAG President (and the show’s director) Jennifer Gorham added that their biggest challenges have been financial ones but those problems have been alleviated with the help of their newly formed community.

“All the parents have helped out tremendously,” Gorham said. “And, all the kids have been great. I knew they would be at audtions. They’re all so talented.”

A few of the actors took time between scenes this week to discuss their experiences in a fledgling theater company, what they think of their characters and how they think YAG is progressing.

NAME Abigail Weakland

AGE 12SKILL LEVEL Expert (more than 10 productions) Q You play two characters. Is that hard?

A It’s fun but it’s kind of confusing sometimes because their personalities are so different. One is really mean and the other is really crazy.

Q Which character—Belle or Captain Bones—do you like better?

A Well, Belle is really hard because she's insane and just hard to keep track of. But, I'm a lot like Captain Bones. He's loud and up front with people and I relate to that. And, even though he's very selfish, he loves his friend Jim.

Q What’s your YAG experience been like so far?

A I like the group a lot and the directors are amazing. If they hold more auditions, I’ll be back.

NAME  Jason Rodriguez

AGE 12SKILL LEVEL Novice (first play) 

Q What’s your character like?

A He’s a 14 or 15-year-old boy who wants to become a pirate but everyone around him doesn’t. He’s also a problem-solver and I can relate to that because I like solving problems, too. I also relate to him because I’m spontaneous on the inside but calm on the outside.

Q What’s his biggest problem?

A He wants to keep his friends safe

Q This is your first play. Will you do another?

A Yes. I’ve wanted to do one for a long time. I just couldn’t find one for me to join or audition for. I’d definitely come back for adventures and comedies but if it was a more girly story, I would consider being the one guy in the story.

NAME Carter Gorham

AGE 13SKILL LEVEL Expert (5 productions) 

Q Describe your character Long John Silver and what you like about portraying him.

A He’s very flamboyant, out there and dramatic which means he’s a character you can really do a lot with. Plus, it’s always fun to play the villain.

Q What’s been the biggest challenge of joining a new theater group?

A We don’t have a very big budget so we don’t have a lot of money for props. It’s OK, though. A lot of people have stepped in to help. My grandfather made the swords, cups and things to help out. A lot of people have made props and donations.

Q What have you been surprised by?

A We have a lot of talent for  a new organization. Everybody’s worked really hard and taken it seriously.

NAME Caroline Dowd

AGE 12SKILL LEVEL Expert (more than 10 productions)Q Your character seems to faint a lot.

A She does! She’s very frivolous and quite girly. She gets quite scared sometimes, which is why she’s fainting.

Q Do you relate to her?

A Well, I’m girly but not frivolous and not as fearful as she is. I think I’d be much more brave. But, you don’t have to relate to your character to do a good job. As long as you know your lines and use your emotions, you can play anything. You just have to transfer your emotions to what you say and do.

Q Explain what works and what you think has been a challenge for YAG?

A I think there are pros and cons to everything. A pro for the guild is that you have all new talent to experiment with. That's a good thing because you can see what parts people excel at verses what' s more challenging for other people. The con is sort-of similar. New talent means that some people are less experienced and they're still learning most of the traits of acting.