The Von Trapp youngsters and Maria on stage throughout a costume rehearsal, November 27, 2022.
(Sage Smiley / KSTK)
In a small city, it takes a village to drag an occasion collectively. That’s very true when the occasion is the primary group theater manufacturing in additional than 20 years.
Greater than 40 Wrangell residents are serving to convey the musical “The Sound of Music” to the stage this week (December 2). To present an inside look, KSTK reporter Sage Smiley dons a distinct hat – a nun’s wimple, to be exact.
Take heed to the radio model of this story right here.
Group theater productions herald actors and crew from all around the group. I’d know – I’ll be performing in my first-ever group manufacturing this week: an abridged model of Roger and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music” as one of many nuns.
Haley Reeves performs the Mom Abbess. She says group theater is a singular expertise.
“You get individuals from completely different walks of life, and individuals who possibly wouldn’t hang around exterior of this,” Reeves explains, “And all of us come collectively, and we get alongside, and all people’s simply been in the identical headspace and dealing collectively. It’s been actually, actually nice.”
The actors are all ages. Solely two of the seven Wrangell youngsters enjoying the Von Trapp youngsters are siblings in actual life (Clara and Mariah Carney, enjoying Louisa and Marta, respectively). The others are, so as of age: Leisl (Alana Harrison), Friedrich (Brogan Booker), Kate (Silje Morse), Brigitta (Amura Roher) and Gretl (Kastle Powers).
The actors enjoying Maria and Captain Von Trapp are married (Sarah and Andrew Scambler) – and so they met whereas singing. The nuns are a radio reporter (myself, Sage Smiley), the general public faculty artwork and music instructor (Tasha Morse), a therapeutic massage therapist (Ellen Jellum), and Reeves, who works at an area financial institution.
The Nuns of Nonnberg Abbey.
(Courtesy Tasha Morse)
Reeves is initially from Havre, a city of about 10,000 individuals in central northern Montana. She grew up collaborating in group theater – she’s been in 15-20 reveals – and says it’s one thing she deeply missed after transferring to Wrangell in 2018. It wasn’t a query whether or not to check out when she heard a number of locals have been attempting to revive group theater on the town.
“I actually didn’t actually have any expectations, as a result of I had heard that we hadn’t completed [a play] in 20 years. So I believe the thought was: ‘I hope that sufficient persons are that we will pull this off,’” she says, “And in order we’ve grown, and as we’ve gotten all people to fill the roles, it’s greater than exceeded expectations.”
She explains that’s “as a result of these are those who care, they wish to placed on present, we wish individuals to get pleasure from it. And hopefully sufficient to the purpose the place we will hold doing stuff like this and supply it [in the future].”
Director Tom Jenkins agrees. The present, which opens December 2, has far exceeded his expectations. That’s largely because of the wonderful volunteerism of Wrangell, he says. Between the solid and crew, greater than 2% of the island’s 2,100-person inhabitants is concerned in getting “The Sound of Music” off the bottom.
“I assumed costumes could be very simple, like possibly a feather in a hat, kind of such as you’re doing in a junior excessive play,” Jenkins explains of his preliminary imaginative and prescient. “That’s what I used to be anticipating, however we’ve bought a Broadway-type look right here, and that’s a giant change. [The] staging and costumes are completely completely different than what I envisioned at first as a result of I used to be envisioning actually beginner theater. However individuals on this city – they’re artists.”
The method has been filled with surprises, Jenkins says: “One was how fast the youngsters discovered their routine for Do-Re-Mi, it’s a reasonably sophisticated routine. I had two pages of notes, as I put collectively, choreographed the factor, largely copying what I noticed from “Sound of Music” with Julie Andrews. They only picked it up so shortly I used to be capable of put away the notes after the very first time.”
At a current costume rehearsal, the three-part music ran easily, however there are nonetheless some issues to iron out. At first, the Von Trapp youngsters didn’t have microphones. These have been nonetheless on their option to Wrangell Island. (By no means worry, the mics have since arrived).
Jenkins provides that the solid on the whole have been “surprisingly good singers.”
“That’s actually shocked me,” he says. “The nuns – I don’t see how you could possibly have a greater high quality of singing in any sort of skilled theater, even, than what the nuns have completed. It’s actually, actually spectacular.”
The conclusion, Jenkins says, is that “everybody wants to come back. You’ll be shocked.”
A ticket to Wrangell’s “Sound of Music” shall be $20, accessible on-line and in-person earlier than the reveals. Jenkins says he is aware of it could appear steep, nevertheless it’s some huge cash to buy the rights to a play, and to drag collectively correct sound tools, even with donated costumes and units and volunteers serving to out.
“I’m at all times amazed how anyone like Roger and Hammerstein’s great-grandchildren are nonetheless making a lot cash from their play. I believe I want to write down a musical in order that my great-grandchildren…” he trails off. “However anyway…”
Reeves says there’s quite a bit that goes right into a present that the viewers received’t ever see, until one thing goes south.
“I believe what’s onerous for individuals to comprehend in the event that they’ve by no means completed theater,” she explains, “They usually come to look at a present, is to know that you simply may discover a tiny mistake right here or there, however you don’t perceive all of the work that got here in simply attending to that time. And oh, my gosh, what might have gone incorrect, what I imply?”
Along with the actors on stage, Reeves factors out, there are the individuals operating microphones, hitting the sound cues, doing lighting, altering backgrounds and set items, plus an entire host of volunteers who made these units, helped sew and alter costumes, and are lending tools to make the present work.
“There’s all these roles which can be stuffed that you simply don’t really get to see them doing,” Reeves says. “It’s a giant challenge for everyone to come back collectively on.”
In fact, she says there are nerves, particularly right here within the house stretch: “It’s at all times like – the week and the night time earlier than – it’s identical to, ‘Can we do that? Are we gonna do that? We’re gonna do that.’”
Jenkins says group theater is essential – that’s why he stepped as much as direct the primary group manufacturing in Wrangell for the reason that late Nineties.
“It’s thrilling, good for the city, good for the younger individuals,” Jenkins says. “Take a look at all these younger individuals which can be singing and dancing at a reasonably excessive stage – the choreography and stuff. I imply, what child in Wrangell within the final 20 years has bought to carry out at this stage? They in all probability won’t ever go to Hollywood, however they’ll at all times keep in mind this sort of stuff. However we have to help it if we’re going to maintain doing it.”
One important aspect of group theater that’s in seemingly quick provide: boys in Wrangell who will sing. One of many Von Trapp roles was gender-bent as a result of not sufficient younger males tried out. Jenkins says he hopes that seeing a efficiency will assist encourage some extra youngsters of all ages to take a look at theater.
“We struggled to get a boy,” Jenkins explains, “So that may be a objective for future, is to get a few younger guys”
“So,” he continues, “Convey your sons to this efficiency in order that they become involved in theater. It’s very macho and enjoyable.”
Along with the expertise itself, Reeves says group theater – particularly in a small city like Wrangell – affords individuals a brand new perspective on their pals and neighbors.
“I work on the financial institution, and I’m positive – relying on who’s coming – they’ve by no means seen me besides behind the desk. And it’s like, ‘Whoa, I didn’t even know that you simply loved theater,’” she says. “In a small city, it’s onerous to get out of your field generally as a result of individuals see you right here or there, and that’s simply sort of the place they hold you, is in that field. Theater being right here opens up that field for individuals to get to know everybody in a brand new gentle.”
Reeves provides group theater can be genuinely life-changing.
“In the event you give it an opportunity, theater might be actually transferring and also you by no means know when it’ll transfer you or what it’ll do,” she says. “Perhaps you simply come at it with: ‘Yeah, that was enjoyable.’ And possibly you are available, you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, I wish to do the following one,’ you simply by no means know what one present might encourage.”
“Hopefully, she provides, “It evokes extra reveals.”
Jenkins says he’ll in all probability step away from directing after this play, and let different proficient Wrangell of us helm the way forward for group theater right here. And for her half, Reeves says she needs to assist hold group theater going.
“We undoubtedly wish to hold doing it, if we’re profitable. I’m hoping it’s going to be, I really feel like it’ll be,” Reeves muses.
“No,” she concludes, “It’s going to be, let’s go together with that.”
Plus, in a means, having a present in Wrangell for the primary time in a lot of the solid’s lifetime is successful in and of itself.
Break a leg, Wrangell’s “Sound of Music!”
Buy tickets for Wrangell’s manufacturing of “The Sound of Music” on-line right here or on the door. Performances are Friday, December 2 at 7 p.m. or Saturday, December 3 at 4 p.m.
Get in contact with KSTK at [email protected] or (907) 874-2345.