LAUGHLIN — Hampstead Stage Company stole the show at the Laughlin Library last week.
Youth of all ages learned about three Greek mythologies by play as Hampstead performed Stories in the Stars. Hampstead is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to bring classic literature to life while educating audiences across the country.
“I loved it,” Mandi Vissers said. “I look forward to coming to the Hampstead Stage Company when it comes to the library each summer.”
She brought her three children to the show; they said they enjoyed it. Vissers said she likes the different resources the Laughlin Library offers. It creates different experiences for her and her children that they wouldn’t otherwise have.
“Visit your local library,” she said. “The opportunities are great especially in such a small town.”
Hampstead performs almost 2,000 shows a year that reach over a quarter of a million people. The organization started in 1983 and got its name from the founders, who came to America from Hampstead, England.
The actors for the show started rehearsals in May on a farm in New Hampshire. They then are sent out in pairs to different regions all over the country for eight weeks.
Actors Caroline Clay and Rebecca Klein were put in charge of the Southwest Region and are the only female duo on tour.
“Hampstead is so good at what they do when it comes to paring people together,” Klein said. “They really put an effort into the casting process. It’s just as much as who you are as people as it is how you fit into the shows and your capability as an actor.”
Klein started her stage career as a singer and when she reached middle school, she became involved in musicals. She said she fell in love with storytelling and continued pursuing her passion as an actor.
“Growing up, it was a big part of shaping who I am and helping me build confidence,” Klein said. “I just fell in love with it and kept doing it.”
Clay and Klein taught the audience in character about the Greek myths of Hades and Persephone, Perseus and Medusa, and Artemis and Orion. Three local youths were plucked from the crowd to assist the two actors putting on the show.
A lot of research on the subject matter is done ahead of time.
“One of my favorite things about theater is how you get to explore different topics,” Klein said. “I didn’t know a whole lot about Greek mythology. I knew the basics but hadn’t dived in before.”
Clay said she has done several tours performing theater for young audiences and has done two seasons with Hampstead. For Klein, it is her first year doing this type of format.
“It has been a blast,” Klein said. “Every single audience is different, and the kids always seem to enjoy it.”
Both actors will wrap up their tour with Hampstead once the summer ends.