POWNAL -- This past weekend, Pownal Elementary School put on its annual play, with students performing a musical adaptation of Mary Pope Osbourne's 1992 childrens' book, "Dinosaurs Before Dark."

This years marks the 10th consecutive year the Pownal students have put on a play, and the director each of those years has been third grade teacher Kathy Brooks. The students put on a dress rehearsal in front of the school Wednesday afternoon, before performing the play on Friday and Saturday nights.

Students who performed in the play were between fourth and sixth grade, although several third graders were recruited to play baby dinosaurs. One student was unsure on exactly how many rehearsals the group had held before the play was ready to be performed. "I don't know," he said, "at least 15."

In addition to Brooks, second grade teacher Clari Derosia, who Brooks said has been working with her on the plays for eight of the 10 years, was music director, art teacher Mary Natalizia was art director, Karel Holcomb was in charge of costume design, and Ron Ray of Oldcastle Theatre Company, as he does every year, put together the show's choreography. Eric Peterson of Oldcastle also helped coach the children. "With childrens' plays, it's not so much about the end result, but the improvement they make along the way," said Peterson during a rehearsal on Thursday afternoon. "Sing out!" he shouted up to the stage, where a group of students dressed as dinosaurs were singing about the difficulties of motherhood.


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Brooks described both Ray and Peterson as "indispensable" members of the team.

Emma Bicking and Garrett Joly played Annie and Jack, the brother and sister from Frog Creek, Penn. who discover a magic tree house in the woods, which transports them back to the age of the dinosaurs. "Dinosaurs Before Dark" is the first book in "The Magic Tree House" series, which saw its 51st book, "High Time for Heroes" published earlier this year. Osbourne will release the 52nd, "Soccer on Sunday" this May.

In the past, Pownal Elementary has put a wide variety of productions, including "101 Dalmatians," "Treasure Island," "The Road to Oz," "Ratz," "Jungle Book," and "Aladdin."

Derek Carson can be reached for comment at dcarson@benningtonbanner.com. Follow him on Twitter @DerekCarsonBB