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  • Writer's pictureAlexa Swinton

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

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) - "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.  

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