By Carlie Connolly
Tarzan the musical, which was put on by Eagle Butte High school ran from Feb. 26 to the 28th, was a huge success, bringing many people out.
The director, Scott Raible said that since last year’s first musical The Wizard of Oz was such a huge success, they wanted to do another, as it was there was a lot of positive feedback from the community and schools.
“We wanted to pick something family friendly so we picked Tarzan. It’s never been done in Medicine Hat before and we thought it would be a nice play that would feature the talent of our students for Eagle Butte as well as our elementary and junior high schools in Prairie Rose,” he said.
The play had six performances, with two school matinees completely sold out and four shows that were open to the pubic at the Esplanade.
“The numbers were up from last year,” he said
They had students from Irvine, Seven Persons, Redcliff, Schuler and Medicine Hat that were all a part of the production. One of the students from Eagle Butte was in charge of the choreography, while a woman from the Medicine Hat musical theatre helped out with the costumes.
The principal roles were cast in senior high, with auditions held at the beginning of the year.
Shirley McClary, the choir teacher at Margaret Wooding School, went out to all of the theatre schools, holding many auditions with any students who were in junior high or elementary school that wanted to be a part of the chorus. She had to make the tough decision in cutting them down to around 30.
There was a total of 70 in the play, with 30 elementary school students. The senior high chorus had a double cast of 35 to 40 students from Eagle Butte high school.
For Michael Christensen, a Grade 12 student from Eagle Butte who played Tarzan, it was the only role he wanted.
He idolized Tarzan as a young child, having a Tarzan computer game and other knick-knacks that involved his character.
Having sung 12 years previous to the production, he had to really bring his character to life, and it was the physical demands of Tarzan that proved to be the biggest challenge.
“When I woke up the next morning, my hips and knees hurt so bad,” he said.
Performing in last year’s Wizard of Oz as the scarecrow, Christensen said that the theatre is growing on him.
He and the rest of the cast had been practicing since the beginning of the school year, later practicing every day as the performance neared, but the hours of practice paid off.
“It got better and better every performance. The audience seemed to love it,” he said.
Being the drama teacher at Eagle Butte High School, Raible said that for many students, theatre and drama really got them through high school.
He said that to see the students after the performance with the memories they shared and the bonds that formed with people they may have never had the chance to hang out with, is what theatre is all about. He mentioned that the theatre is all about the students being allowed to let go and just have fun.
“It allows them to have fun being part of a team, it allows them to have fun acting out and doing those things that we might normally not do, because we don’t want to embarrass ourselves. We’re in theatre; we have the permission to do it.
As the late Robin Williams once said, ‘acting is very much like legalized insanity, we’re allowed to be crazy.’”