An evil monster brought to life through magical glasses terrorized a hotel dedicated to the love of reading as part of Roseburg High School’s literacy play Tuesday afternoon.
“They thought they could keep me trapped, but they thought wrong,” the Ink Monster, played by senior Austin Perron, laughed ominously as he emerged from his box.
The ink monster destroyed books in a short play performed by Roseburg High drama students for an enthusiastic audience from Hucrest and Fir Grove elementary schools. The play promoted reading and was written and produced by high school students.
The drama students will perform the play for close to 3,000 elementary school students this week for the 13th annual Celebration of Literacy.
Sponsored by Altrusa International of Roseburg and the Umpqua Reading Council, the activities are meant to motivate Douglas County residents, particularly children, to read and write.
Senior Graciela Garcia wrote “The Magical Reading Glasses of Lore,” which follows siblings Daniel and Ali, played by senior Andrew Newer and sophomore Elizabeth Highley, as they manage their parents’ Paradise Hotel while the parents are on vacation.
Before they left, the parents warned their children that whatever they do, don’t enter the forbidden upstairs room.
The siblings struggle to attract customers and soon disobey orders and venture upstairs.
“No one likes reading anymore,” Ali complains. “If only there was a way to make reading more exciting.”
Suddenly the room lights up and she reaches into the forbidden box and pulls out magical glasses.
She puts the glasses on and suddenly a wizard appears. The siblings appear shocked.
“The glasses have the power to bring any book character to life,” the wizard, played by senior Luke Counsell, explained.
Ali soon reads “The Legend of the Ink Monster” and accidently releases the monster.
He breaks out into a scary song, and his minions creep through the audience to the delight of the younger students.
The Ink Monster “drinks” books to destroy them.
“I like to ruin all their fun and learning,” he said.
The siblings then hatch a plot to get the Ink Monster to drink his own book.
After a slow motion dance set to “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” the monster accidently drinks the book.
“You’ve tricked me! I’ve been fooled!” he says, and slowly withers away.
Hucrest second-grader Kaela Klopfenstein said she enjoyed the play and it inspired her to read.
“I thought it was funny. I like that they like to read books,” she said.
She said she reads books often and likes character development in stories.
Classmate Kaden Chrisenbery said the play was “awesome.”
“I like the ink monster,” he said. “He drunk the words. It was weird.”
After the production, Highley said she enjoys reading and hopes the play inspired the students to pick up a book.
“I love getting to escape from the now and live in a different world for a while,” she said. “I hope they get to experience less of technology around us and read more. Reading is important and people are starting to forget that.”
• You can reach reporter Betsy Swanback at 541-957-4208 or firstname.lastname@example.org.