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Youth Theatre students learn stunt secrets

Mt. Zion Youth Theatre students watch a stuntman jump through a window. Photos provided (click for larger version)
August 18, 2010 - Young actors got a crash course in advanced stagecraft at several theater workshops this summer. A workshop earlier this month included stuntmen crashing through a window.

"The man on fire, doused in protective gel, trampoline stunts it was one of those, don't-try-this-at-home things," said Sona Lalji, director of Mt. Zion School of Performing Arts in Independence Township. "They showed us how it's done."

Mt. Zion offers a performing arts program every year, with a Youth Theatre Program added a few years ago. This is their first stunt workshop.

"We'll continue that," Lalji said.

Their youth theater group is preparing for their first live show, "Aladdin," in October.

"Part of that development was to bring in outside people," Lalji said.

Ring of Steel Action Theatre performers from University of Michigan demonstrated the fire stunt, high falls, fire whips, running through a window, as well as stage makeup and other theatrical techniques in a two-day workshop for more than 50 Mt. Zion students.

They'll use their ideas for stage makeup, but not the fire, broken glass, falls and other advanced stunts, she said.

Ring of Steel was one of several workshops this past summer on Broadway, stage combat, voice and accent development, improvisation, and other theatre disciplines.

Established in 1986, Mt. Zion School of Performing Arts begins its 18th season this September. Registrations are also accepted for classes in theatre, dance, and music, for students as young as 3 years old.

Their annual open house for new families is Friday, Aug. 20, 5-8 p.m., at the church, 4900 Maybee Road. For more information, call 248-393-1407 or visit the website at

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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