Annual ‘Troll Play’ puts on the silly scares for Children’s School

Greg Funka | Daily file photo
The Thunder Bridge Troll, played by Children’s School Director Kit Trapasso, gets a new look in the 2011 production of “Extreme Makeover: Troll Edition.”

When teachers John Denton, Pie Kasbar, Gretchen Hathaway, Heidi Zarou and Tiffany Clementi-Hammes all sat down together to write this year’s annual Children’s School “Troll Play,” they figured they would try something new.

“In the previous years it’s been mostly about love,” Kasbar said.

This time around, she said, it’s more so about “training [little] trolls.”

In honor of the Old First Night celebration, the Children’s School hosts its annual “Troll Play” at 10 a.m. today at Smith Wilkes Hall.

Kasbar and her fellow playwrights believe that this year’s show will just be as “zany” as those of the past.

Featuring an egg-laying troll who falls head-over-heels with a hunchback damsel, zany shouldn’t be that difficult to reach.

Denton, who plays said hunchback damsel, is excited to be part of the show, which he’s been involved with for more than a decade.

Putting his wit into the annual play, Denton also hopes that his work will garner a good amount of donations for Chautauqua’s birthday.

Dressing up as a troll’s girlfriend, he said, is one way to do it.

“We raise our money mainly through bake sales and troll plays,” Denton said.

The big, bad troll himself, Kit Trapasso, has made a name for himself around the Institution for the role, which he’s been doing for 15 years. Stomping barefoot around on stage in a clown wig and jumping in the Bestor Plaza fountain, for him, is one of the highlights of the Chautauqua summer.

“It’s always been a lot of fun,” he said.

Kasbar believes that there’s no one more appropriate to be starring on stage.

“He is by far one of the best things about Children’s School,” she said. “And we just want to show just how wonderful he is.”

And this year, Trapasso, as “ice cream stealer” and “troll trainer,” will be leading kids in a number of songs and hopes to muster a healthy amount of audience participation.

He will also be guiding kids around Chautauqua on a “troll scavenger hunt,” putting to use the “ice cream searching skills” that are crucial in every troll’s repertoire — along with the musical energy.

Hathaway, who will be narrating today’s show and providing its musical direction, is excited to lead the kids in troll-themed song — especially the “Trolls Grow One by One” rewrite — and strumming her ukulele on stage. She’s also looking forward to the ice cream finale.

“That should be reason enough to come,” Hathaway said.