Local kids get the Hollywood experience

October 18, 2003|By Adrienne Saunders | Adrienne Saunders,SUN STAFF

Three on a Match, a film with more than the usual plot twists, will premiere Sunday at The Senator Theatre.

A group of nearly 30 Baltimore-area children produced, directed and starred in the movie during a three-week film camp led by Elaine Beardsley and award-winning filmmaker Steve Yeager for Fifth Wall Theater Company.

Written by Beardsley as a parody of the 1961 Disney classicThe Parent Trap, the movie features triplets who try to reunite their mother, father and grandmother as a family.

For five days a week during August, the novice filmmakers operated booms, adjusted lighting and churned out as many as 20 takes for a single scene.

Fifth Wall, a non-profit theater organization, is dedicated to educating and expanding the horizons of artists of all ages, said founder Beardsley, a local author and playwright. "It was quite a thrill and surprising how quickly these kids were truly like little sponges," she said. "We cast the show on the second day and the fourth day they were practicing scenes."

For Ryan Hollins, a sophomore at Hereford High School, the experience was inspirational. "I never thought that I could be a director ... but now there's nothing else that I could ever want to be," the 15-year-old said.

The 10 children who produced the film rotated jobs like directing and sound, but Ryan said directing was everyone's favorite post.

In the movie, a set of triplets separated at birth meet at summer camp. One triplet lives in England with her mother, another lives in Baltimore with her father and the third lives in New York with her grandmother. With the help of the other campers and two butlers, the girls successfully reunite their parents and grandmother, who decide to live together in Baltimore.

Those who acted in the film got a quick lesson in production, thanks to the close filming quarters, but most of their off-camera time was spent rehearsing lines.

Rheeqrheeq Chainey, 14, played the dad's fiancee, whom the triplets try to push out of their family.

"It's really funny because the girls who played the triplets really looked nothing alike," said Chainey, a Bryn Mawr School student who has been acting since the third grade.

Both Beardsley and Yeager said the children operated like a professional film crew after only a few days. Beardsley recruited Yeager, a Baltimore native who teaches film at Towson University, to direct the production training for the film while she oversaw the acting.

"This is the first time I've worked with this age group," said Yeager, who won Best Documentary at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival for Divine Trash, a film about the early career of John Waters.

"It was amazing to watch them," Yeager said. "It was like a professional film crew." He said the final version of the film, completed at 2:30 a.m. yesterday, will surprise viewers with its professional look. "When we show the film at 10:30 Sunday morning, the kids and their parents and their guests are going to be blown away."


What: Three on a Match

Where: Senator Theatre, 5904 York Road

When: 10:30 a.m. tomorrow

Cost: Free admission plus coffee and bagels

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.