By SUNNY LOCKWOOD
Katie Stennet and Celeste Wychopen, sixth graders at Copperopolis Elementary School, are best friends.
Were opposites, said Celeste with characteristic enthusiasm. Shes tall, Im short. Shes the oldest in her family. Im the youngest.
Both girls have done some stage acting Katie in school plays when she lived in Alaska and Celeste with a community theater group called Center Stage.
And since December, the two and nearly 20 of their friends have been in the film-production business to make a spoof of Lord of the Rings.
It was Celestes idea, but Katie saw the potential immediately. Shed read the book and saw the movie twice. Celeste only saw the movie once, but shed seen lots of opportunities in it for humor, of the slapstick variety.
Encouraged by her father, school counselor Kevin Wychopen, Celeste called all her friends to tell them about her idea.
The first thing we did was develop characters. I made up my own character, Elba, Katie said.
Celeste asked kids to write scenes while she tried to find a cameraman and costumes. Her dad became the cameraman, wielding an 8mm camera as kids acted in scene after scene during school lunch hours.
Celeste was director for the project. Both she and Katie also acted as producers and played roles in the spoof.
From the opening scene of mist rising off the surface of Lake Tulloch, to the eating scene where actors toss food and giggle, to the murder by evil spoon and the slow motion battle of the Orks, the spoof is full of laughter.
There are pratfalls and chases, lots of pushing and pulling, calls for help at the edge of the stream and a frustrated wizard riding a broomstick horse.
The cast had a mini-crisis when a student in a lead role had to leave because her family was moving out of the area. Celeste and Katie found a solution. Her last day of school, we had an evil twin come in and nonviolently murder her, Celeste said. The murder was performed by spoon spoon, not knife, get it this is funny stuff to sixth graders.
Weekly Arts and entertainment guide for Calaveras and Tuolumne counties