Flat River Community Players brings 2-act version of ‘The Hobbit’ to stage
By Whitney Codling
It’s unusual for a modern work to become a classic so quickly, but Tolkien’s stories of the One Ring, beginning with The Hobbit, clearly are in this very special character.
The Flat River Community Players presentation of Patricia Gray’s adaptation of “The Hobbit” offers a simplified, two-act adaptation. The condensed script necessitates the absence of some details, leaving a stream-lined adventure that does a wonderful job of telling the most important pieces of the plot.
Gandalf the wizard (Scott Wahlfeldt) convinces the hobbit, Bilbo Baggins (Patrick Fuller), to join him on a great adventure. He sets off, as a reluctant burglar, with Thorin Oakenshield (Sean Wahlfeldt) and his party of dwarves (Richard Raphael, Jeremiah Souza, Tyler DeGood, Skye Hayes, Skip Schuster, Andy Smith, Christopher Griner, Jacob Corl, Matt Sanborn, Chris Carroll). Their quest to recover the ancient mountain home of the dwarves takes them through troll and goblin-infested mountains (Cory Boomgaard, Jill Block, Larry Moss, Kay Roy, Heidi Raih), as well as elven kingdoms (Melanie Tompsett, Mayzie Butema, Loren Moss, Shelby Stowe, Whitney Codling, Ashton Codling), all the while steering them toward their final confrontation with the evil dragon, Smaug (Larry Moss).
Because of budget constraints and the laws of earthly physics, director Steve King faces many challenges bringing the epic fantasy world of Middle Earth to life.”
The sets and technical aspects of this play will be a major undertaking, but I have a cast and crew that is just as passionate about this story as I am,” King said. “They have come up with ideas that I had never thought of, and they are all working to make this the best show possible. A great cast like this one makes it so much easier to work through any problems we might encounter and will work as effectively as any special effects to pull the audience into this wonderful story.”
The interactions between Gandalf and Bilbo are endearing. The gruffness of the dwarves is amusing. The riddle contest between the slimy Gollum (Ric Davenport) and the pure-of-heart hobbit is both creepy and entertaining. The core themes of the story remain intact, despite a little reworking. The audience can’t help but connect with Tolkien’s memorable characters as they follow Bilbo on his adventures, there and back again.