Halloween is the Seem-To-Be Players' favorite time of year. This season the professional children's theater company has resurrected an old favorite for its double creature feature.
"Cats and Bats," written by Seem-To-Be Players founder Ric Averill for 3- to 6-year-olds and their families, tells the story of Lucy the cat who learns to accept a new household pet, Belfry the bat.
"It's really about having a new brother or sister," Averill says.
Cast members include Averill, Jennifer Glenn, Jerry Mitchell and Alyssa Buecker, a member of the Seem-To-Be Players apprentice program.
The play, which also talks about friendship, is included in a collection of Averill's short plays titled "Princess and the Pea."
"The Witch of Loc Island," written by Averill for those 5 years and older, is about a shape changer who controls a group of sea nymphs and enchants young boys who come her way looking for treasure. When the young boy Houarn is trapped, Bella, a young girl, must use the magic left behind by her mother to save him.
"I got it from Nordic or Celtic tales," Averill says of the play's origin. "It's similar to the 'Selkie' play. There's shape changing going on. There's the feel of the wind-swept fishing village. There's woman or girl magic. She saves the boy, and the girl has to reclaim her heritage before she can stop the spell."
The 50-minute show has an age-appropriate cast. Student actors include Sarah Robinson, Taylor Worthington, Rachel Beaumont, Mick Cottin, Liz Stuewe, Aber Dutton Miller, Laura Williams, Brenna Daldorph, Hanna Robinson, Sara Cortese, Hannah Kapp-Klote, Lily Robinson and Nicolette Weil. Adult cast members are Glenn, Jeremy Auman, Jenny Selig and Kris Ariel.
Music will be provided by Mike Boring, piano; Lauralyn Bodle, violin; and Steve Kapp, double bass. Choreographer is Ellie Goudie Averill, of Topeka.
Seem-To-Be apprentices will conduct a sing-along at each show, and audience members are encouraged to wear costumes.
In addition to the Halloween plays, the Seem-To-Be Players are completing a 13-week tour of its "Boston Tea Party." The troupe soon will be represented by Main Stage, a booking agency in St. Louis, and will tour "Stuart Little" and "Sacagawea."
"It puts us in the same category as acts coming to the Lied Center," Averill says. "Next year, we will have two companies on the road at the same time and four productions."