The Tomato Players may be leaving Tallahassee, and the show won’t go on.
They are a theatre troupe of actors who are devoted to providing an educational, interactive, and exciting theatrical experience for children of all ages.
On Saturday, the players held a free theatre workshop at the LeRoy Collins Leon County Public Library. Elementary-school thespians were invited to come and gain a basic understanding of story plots and other theatre tips.
Christi Willard, a member of the Tomato Players and graduating theater student at Florida State University from Apopka, Fla. , taught the workshop. Willard recently returned from London before conducting the workshop, and she hasn’t quite gotten back to into her routine.
“I was over in London having a blast,” Willard said. “Now I come back [to Tallahassee] and I have a class to teach.”
The players are moving to the Orlando area. That’s where Willard is relocating after she graduates.
During the acting workshop, children used their imaginations to act like worms, chickens, astronauts landing on the moon and even pretended they were covered in Jell-O.
After using their imaginations, the children went stage and acted out their favorite thing to do. Some children didn’t want to go on stage because they were afraid they’d mess up.
“Acting is full of mess ups,” Willard said to encourage them. “But that’s good because you learn from it.”
Six-year-old Carter Grafton was first to hit the stage. He acted out listening to the gorilla story.
Next was 6-year-old Anna Boyd. She said her favorite thing to do was to read.
The workshop concluded with a song and dance performance from the children. They sang the lyrics to “Consider Yourself,” which is from the film “Oliver!” and performed a formation routine.
John Grafton, Carter’s father, was proud to see his son up on stage.
“The kids really enjoy it,” Grafton said. “They’re doing something that isn’t in front of the TV and that’s fine by me.”
Willard gets a kick out of the workshops. Unfortunately, she hasn’t found anyone who can take over once she’s gone.
“You know, I kind of trained some people to fill my spot, but when I asked them straight up, they declined to do it,” Willard said.
Sheila Boyd, an attending parent, was sad to hear that this one of the players last shows.
“I understand [Christi] has her life to live,” Boyd said. “The kids are going to miss this.”
The last workshop for the players in the Tallahassee area is April 5. The workshop will also be held in the LeRoy Collins Leon County Public Library.