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Art Beat: Actor's Edge presents 'Twinderella' at Red Clay

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A hilarious take on the fairy tale "Cinderella" will be performed by a troupe of young actors at the Red Clay Theatre for six performances beginning today.

Theater-goers expecting the usual enchanted pumpkins and glass slippers are in for a surprise. This interpretation has Cinderella rotating tires and polishing bowling trophies, while enchanted gerbils fill in for characters never found in Disney's version of the story.

"Twinderella" is The Actor's Edge Community Players' inaugural production," director Patricia Padrick said. "It has been my goal for the past three years to provide young actors with a friendly, nurturing and educational environment in which to grow as artists, while providing our community with high quality, family-friendly entertainment."

Written by North Carolina playwright Charlie Lovett, "Twinderella" is a great show to introduce younger members of the family to theater.

"It has a great 'squirm factor' as it is only 50 to 60 minutes long," Padrick said. "And we are offering recession-friendly ticket prices of only $8 per person. Our cast is made up of talented young people from right here in Duluth but also from as far away as Snellville and Buckhead. Some actors are newcomers while others are seasoned pros working with agents."

The theater has always been in Padrick's blood. She started her formal career as a student at The Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City after graduating from high school. After years of private study in acting technique, voice and dance, she joined the ranks of professional actors as a member of the Actor's Equity Association. She appeared in such productions as "42 Seconds to Broadway," "Wide-Open Spaces," "The Great Nebula in Orion" and "Isabella's Dilemma."

Padrick moved to Georgia 20 years ago and spent 15 years in the corporate world, working in accounting, banking and sales.

"The ability to leverage my varied personal and professional skill sets is my greatest strength in achieving success with my company," she said. "The combination of real world business experience along with my performing arts background uniquely qualifies me in the realm of theater arts education and program management."

The Actor's Edge came into being when Padrick's children began trying out for school performances.

"I began directing amateur theater productions at Simpson Elementary. That success inspired me to create and lead my first summer drama camp at the Red Clay Theatre in 2008. And thus, my relationship with the theater began anew," Padrick said.

Three years later, the Actor's Edge offers children a wide range of high quality performing arts programs in 12 week sessions during the school year and in summer camps. Enrollment has tripled in number, with classes and camps now available in Suwanee as well as in Duluth.

Performances of "Twinderella" will be held today, Saturday and Sunday and again Thursday, March 19 and 20. Week nights and Saturdays have a 7 p.m. start time, and on Sunday the curtains open at 3 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door or by calling 770-573-9529. The Red Clay Theatre is at 3116 Main St. in Duluth.

For information about acting classes and summer camps, visit www.theactorsedge.com.

Holley Calmes is a freelance writer. E-mail her at hcalmes@mindspring.com.