Seoyeon Kim knew nothing about the play and little about theater when her music teacher approached her about joining the cast of “The Morini Strad” at Portland Stage Company.

“I didn’t know there was a Portland Stage, actually,” said 12-year-old Kim. “But I am glad to be here. I love performing in general. I love audiences.”

Kim, an eighth-grader at Falmouth Middle School, has a small but significant role in the drama, presented by Portland Stage through Oct. 23. She has no lines in the play, but performs with her violin several times throughout the show. We see her as a violin student at the beginning, and then throughout the play as a memory of the lead character as she recounts her life.

Kim performs a variety of music throughout the show. Following a matinee that begins at 2 p.m. Sunday, Kim will perform a brief recital.

Written by Connecticut playwright Willy Holtzman, “The Morini Strad” tells the story of Erica Morini, a 20th-century, Austrian-born violinist who began her career as a child prodigy and followed that dream all the way to Carnegie Hall and other grand stages around the world.

In his play, Holtzman explores the cost of the commitment of a life in music and the pressures faced by child prodigies, especially as they age.

Kim smirks at the idea of seeing herself in Morini’s story.

“I’m not from America, so I can relate to her that way. I came here from another country, as did she,” Kim said. “But I don’t see myself as a prodigy. I just like music.”

Kim was cast in the role after a conversation between Portland Stage artistic director Anita Stewart and Kim’s instructor, Clorinda Noyes. Noyes told Stewart that Kim could learn and memorize the music in the play. The young student did all that – and more.

Just a day before the first public preview, the play shifted, and new music was inserted into a scene. Kim showed up the next day with the new music memorized and performed it the following night, Stewart said.

“She showed up for rehearsal on Tuesday to put that in. We found we needed one day to let it settle, so she actually played the new music, memorized, in the show on Wednesday, having first seen the new music on Monday,” Stewart said. “Talk about a fast learner.”

Kim moved to the United States from South Korea five years ago with her father, Jongjib Kim, and mother, Eunra Ko. They moved to Maine when her father got a job with Fairchild Semiconductor.

Being in a play has been a good learning experience for his daughter, Jongjib Kim said. It’s helped reinforce the importance of commitment and efficiency.

His daughter has had to study harder to keep up with her schoolwork while coming to the theater several nights a week and every weekend, he said. “It’s a good opportunity for her to improve her time management skills.”

In addition to the violin, Kim also plays the piano. She is a member of the Portland Youth String Orchestra and has won first place in the Kotchsmar Organ Competition.

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or: [email protected]

Twitter: pphbkeyes