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‘Make Believe’: Four kids carry weight of unique, adult play at Hartford Stage

Connecticut Families

“Make Believe,” now playing at Hartford Stage, is an emotional, grown-up play yet child actors carry the first act. 

“One day we go around looking for our mom – our dad is on a business trip and we can’t find our mom,” explains 10-year-old Sloane Wolfe. 

The parents don’t immediately return home. 

“I start providing for my siblings and being the father figure,” says Roman Malenda, 11-years-old.  “It’s just sad because some children really have to go through this,” adds Sloane.

The four young stars lighten the mood when they can, especially when hanging-out on the 1980s inspired set. 

“I don’t know a lot about the 80s but I think I’ve learned a lot,” says Roman.  “Atari?  So much fun, right?  I get to play onstage.” 

9-year-old Alexa Swinton is playing with toys onstage as the audience enters the venue: “It’s really fun because I’m being Addie playing.  Who doesn’t like to play?”

The kids are juggling their acting duties – with their studies – because they love their craft.  8-year-old R.J. Vercellone – who lives in Milford – has history at Hartford Stage. 

“I was in A Christmas Carol,” he explains.  “I played Tiny Tim…I love all the friends I made in this show and I love all the friends in the last show, it’s kind of like a community.” 

Adult actors join the story in Act Two.  It’s a unique show that makes audience members think about life and love. 

“I hope they learn to get back with their siblings or have some family, friend time,” says Alexa.  

Make Believe is playing at Hartford Stage through September 30th.  Click here for more information.

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