Everyone is invited to journey "under the sea" with Ariel and her aquatic friends in Disney's The Little Mermaid JR., which is the production being staged by the Kamsack Comprehensive Institute junior drama club in March.
The play is adapted from Disney's Broadway production and the motion picture featuring the enormously popular Academy Award-winning music and delightfully charming book and lyrics.
“Based on one of Hans Christian Andersen's most beloved stories, Disney's The Little Mermaid JR. is an enchanting look at the sacrifices we all make for love and acceptance,” says promotional information for the play.
“In a magical underwater kingdom, the beautiful young mermaid Ariel longs to leave her ocean home - and her fins - behind and live in the world above,” the information says. “But first she'll have to defy her father King Triton, make a deal with the evil sea witch Ursula, and convince the handsome Prince Eric that she's the girl whose enchanting voice he's been seeking.
“Written to flow seamlessly between land and sea, Disney's The Little Mermaid JR. provides plenty of opportunities to bring these locations to life through creative movement and configurations,” it says. “The fantasy of being underwater means the entire cast and crew can let their imaginations run wild.”
KCI students in grades 5 to 8 will be staging the play as a dress rehearsal, tentatively scheduled on March 18 at the Victoria School. It will be staged at the Togo Hall on March 18, and will be held at the Kamsack Playhouse March 21 and 24.
Among the most exciting challenges of the play, which is set both under water and on land, will be the use of students holding fabrics to create the effect of being under water, said Greg Thomas, who is directing the play.
“It’s a really good play and many of the students already know many of the songs,” he said. “It is fun to produce.”
The students had a choice of three plays and they selected this one, Thomas said. The Pirates of Penzance Junior came in as a close second.
The play, which is expected to last about 90 minutes, has a large cast and many of the actors will be playing multiple roles, he said. “We had the tryouts at the end of November and started rehearsals at the beginning of January.”
Working with Thomas as directors are: Joanne Schwartz, who will also be dealing with the props, and Amy Costigan, who will be dealing with costumes. Tracey Fedorchuk is involved with sets and costumes, and Amanda Carpenter, sets and props.
Out on the open sea, Prince Eric pursues a mysterious voice despite the protests of his guardian, Grimsby (Fathoms Below), says the play’s synopsis. Far beneath the waves, the crab Sebastian has prepared a concert for King Triton that will debut his youngest child, Ariel (Daughters of Triton), but she has snuck up to the surface with her best friend, Flounder. There, they learn about the human treasure she has found from the seagull Scuttle (Human Stuff).
Meanwhile, the sea witch Ursula and her lackey eels, Flotsam and Jetsam, bemoan their exile and plot to regain power from Triton using Ariel as bait.
King Triton scolds Ariel for going to the surface and appoints Sebastian as her chaperone. Ariel retreats to her grotto and dreams of living on land (Part of Your World). Upon discovering her collection of human objects, Sebastian extols the virtues of the ocean (Under the Sea). Distracted by the shadow of a great ship, Ariel swims to the surface and finds the handsome Prince Eric on board. Suddenly, lightning strikes the ship, sending Prince Eric overboard (The Storm). Ariel darts into action and brings the unconscious prince to shore (Part of Your World - Reprise). Her song wakes Prince Eric, but she has disappeared into the waves.
Back underwater, the mersisters grill Flounder about Ariel's odd behavior (She's in Love). Furious about Ariel's contact with a human, King Triton destroys all her precious objects. Flotsam and Jetsam find Ariel in despair and lure her to the sea witch's lair. Ursula offers to change Ariel into a human in exchange for her voice (Poor Unfortunate Souls). Prince Eric must kiss her within three days or Ariel will turn back into a mermaid and become Ursula's slave.
On the beach, Prince Eric finds Ariel and brings her home to the palace. Sebastian follows to protect Ariel but finds himself in jeopardy in Chef Louis's kitchen (Les Poissons). Ariel's silence prompts Prince Eric to find other ways to communicate, like dancing (One Step Closer), but he is still haunted by the mysterious voice. On the second day, Sebastian calls on lagoon animals to serenade the couple (Kiss the Girl), but Flotsam and Jetsam cause a commotion that blocks their kiss.
Grimsby arranges a singing contest on the third day to locate the owner of the mysterious voice and thus a bride for Prince Eric. When Ariel breaks through the crowd and dances, Prince Eric realizes how much he loves her and begins to propose. However, the sun sets and the spell is broken, turning Ariel back into a mermaid and drawing her into the sea. Sebastian rushes to warn King Triton, who agrees to hand over his trident and take Ariel's place as Ursula's slave (Poor Unfortunate Souls - Reprise).
When Prince Eric attempts to rescue Ariel, Ursula loses control of her magic shell and Ariel's voice is restored. Trident in hand, Ursula attempts to harness the power of the seas but creates a whirlpool that destroys her and the eels. With peace restored, Ariel returns the trident to her father. King Triton realizes how much Ariel cares for Prince Eric and decides to restore her humanity. He gently deposits her on the shore, and Prince Eric rushes up and proposes. As Ariel answers, Prince Eric realizes that it has been her voice all along (Part of Your World - Finale).
Kate Erhardt has been cast in the plum role of Ariel, the mermaid who longs to be human, while Dylan Weiss is Prince Eric, a prince who would rather explore the ocean than govern a kingdom.
Eric Moriarty is King Triton; Ilyana Carpenter-Bloudoff, Ursula; Jordyn Thomas, Flounder; Paul Spence-Gaines, Scuttle; Makayla Romaniuk, Sebastian; Zachary Burback, Pilot; Jenaci Pelly, Grimsby; Megan Raffard, Flotsam; Tara Taylor, Jetsam, and Olivia Bos and Raechel Badger portray Tentacles, who are “extensions of Ursula, or perhaps poor unfortunate souls.”
Charlie Spence-Gaines is Chef Louis, a sailor and a lagoon animal. Also playing multiple roles, including lagoon animals, jellyfish, princesses, gulls, chefs, sailors and seahorses are: Elizabeth Spence-Gaines, Gerri Basaraba, Teyon Cote, Petrie Whitehawk, Leah Schwartz, Phoenix Papequash, Josh Hilton, Brady Hilton, Tynika Strongeagle, Gerri Basaraba and Curtis Berezowski.
Karen Luu is working on sound, and also working behind the scenes, including the manipulation of the swaths of undulating cloths will be: Shaelyn David, Jersey Badger, Talon Severight, Damian McLean, Will Zarchikoff, Boston Guillet, Alexandria Shingoose, William MacGillivray, Larah Shingoose, Cadence Severight and Sadie McGriskin.
Meanwhile, the KCI senior drama club is soon to begin work on a one-act comedy called Nose for the News, which is a spoof on the Cyrano de Bergerac story set in a contemporary newsroom.