The Manatawna/Saul 4-H Club has loaned out three lambs to The Wilma Theater for their latest production, “Curse of the Starving Class”. The lambs are purebred Southdowns, who were born at the J&B Miller Farm in Clinton, Pa.
The star-studded sheep cast features: Justin Sheeper, Lady Bahbah, and Bahnka Zizbah. They were named after Wilma Theater representatives asked their Facebook fans to come up with names for the lambs.
The play, starring and written by award-winning playwright Sam Shepard (Buried Child, True West), is a dark comedy about a family facing financial ruin in pre-suburban California. With their farm being threatened by debt collectors, the family must find a way to defeat the “curse” and save their farm.
The soon-to-be celebrity lambs will live at the theater throughout the run of the show, from March 7 to April 8.
“I guess they’re sort of celebrities,” said Scott Moser, supervisor of the Manatawna/Saul 4-H Club. “It’s a neat thing, something new for us.”
Moser and club students have instructed the Wilma crew on how to create a comfortable and healthy living environment for the lambs.
“We have even hired a sheep wrangler as part of the stage crew,” said Johnny Van Heest, public relations manager at The Wilma Theater.
Moser, who created the area that the lambs are being housed in, said he inspected the space before the lambs arrived, and utilized fence pieces he had to build a pen.
“We’re giving our oversight,” said Moser, “and one of our members has volunteered to visit and check on the lambs two to three times each week.”
Moser says the three lambs were raised on the bottle essentially from birth and are accustomed to being together.
“They are what we call bottle babies,” said Moser.
The club raises livestock on the Manatawna Farm in Roxborough and currently owns an array of sheep, yews, rams, steers and cows. They operate through a cooperative agreement with W.B. Saul High School, a school that focuses on agricultural education. Anyone from the age of eight to 18 can become a member of the club.
Every Saturday, members meet to care for and train with animals on the farm. They also attend and compete in a number of shows and fairs throughout the year, including the Pennsylvania Farm Show, where they received a number of prizes this past January.
Once the theater completes production of the play, the lambs will go back to their normal life on the farm, essentially going on a hiatus from their newfound celebrity. Each lamb will be assigned to a separate 4-H member, and eventually they’ll be bred to produce.
“Curse of the Starving Class” runs from March 14 to April 8.