Students to perform ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ for local schools

Sydney Rae Davis

The final year of college can be overwhelming. Finishing major and minor requirements, seeking employment and figuring out the next move after college can be very demanding and time consuming. 

On top of all of that, imagine directing a children’s play and performing it at nearly 20 elementary schools in a single semester. For Elliot Talkington, a senior from Owensboro, this schedule is his reality. 

This semester Talkington has taken on the task of directing the children’s play “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” The play, which has been adapted for the stage by Jeanine Dwinell Henry and Meg Bryant Davenport, is part of the children’s theatre series at WKU and serves as a course, Production of Theatre for Children: Tour Show, for a handful of students.

For this class, the participating students meet and rehearse every Tuesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. When the rehearsal process is complete, they will finish out the semester by touring 16 local elementary schools.

Olivia Scott, a junior from Erlanger, plays the character Timely, the Emperor’s minister, in the show. Scott said the play is very much like the children’s tale by Hans Christian Andersen.

“The emperor basically gets tricked into paying these con artists a lot of money to make him a new suit of clothes, and they say that only people who are honest and fit for their jobs can see the clothes,” Scott said. 

At the end of the show, the emperor finally realizes that he cannot see the clothes and because he has been too focused on his physical appearance and not concerned enough with the state of his kingdom. 

Hope Pauly, a sophomore from Villa Hills, plays the character of Sylvester Schemes and is a fan of the production and the story’s conclusion. 

“It’s funny, and it’s good for kids, and it all kind of comes to a nice ending with a good moral to the story,” Pauly said. 

Pauly also enjoys the audience participation element of the production because it allows the children to feel more like they are part of the action.

“The whole reason we’re doing this show is to bring theatre to some kids who might never get a chance to see it,” Pauly said.

While “The Emperor’s New Clothes” is very comical in nature, it also teaches children important lessons.

“Ultimately, it kind of teaches us the lesson that even though we may have the best intentions, it never is okay to lie,” Talkington said. “But [the show] does so in a very comical, funny way that I think people can really relate to.”

“The Emperor’s New Clothes” production will perform on campus in the Gordon Wilson Lab Theatre from December 4 to 6. The Friday performance will be held at 4 p.m., while Saturday and Sunday performances will be held at 3 p.m. All tickets are $5.