A spoonful of sugar and hard work: CTAA debuts ‘Mary Poppins’

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By Danielle Smith
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(Danielle Smith | Trojan Times) With hours dedicated to rehearsing and making costumes and props, “Mary Poppins” was a largely collaborative effort from start to finish.

Students reining not only from MHS, but from other parts of the island as well came together to put on Central Theater Arts Academy’s musical production of “Mary Poppins.”  With showing on April 15, 16,17, 22, 23 and 24, students showed off the months spent rehearsing, building friendships, learning lessons and bringing the production together.

“On our Sunday showing, the audience actually stood up at the end, and when you get that kind of feedback from the audience, that’s how you know you did a good job. All this rehearsing wasn’t just for nothing, that you are actually getting good, positive feedback from people,” said Junior Christian Howe, who acted in the role of Mr. George Banks.

Each students for teacher dedicated their time to making this production possible, including long hours of singing, sewing, painting or dancing. “The week before the show we were (at the theater) everyday until 10 and then the week before that, we were there everyday until 8,” Howe said. Sophomore Anna Kate Womack, who played Von Hustler added, “The choreography for this show is fast paced so we worked a lot on dance. Just the show itself is long, so it took us a while to run through it all.”

Among those hours of practice, students encountered countless obstacles, but were able to overcome them. “Some difficult things I encountered were definitely stress. Like, ‘Okay, how am I going to do this and how am I going to get this done.’ Or not getting something right the first time and having to start all over. I overcame this by just remembering that I need to stay calm and focused,” Sophomore Christina Casanova said. Womack expressed, “Friends would be able to help out with an accent and with the dances. Some people preferred to act and others prefer to dance so they caught on really quick and became motivators for the rest of the cast and they teach you.”

MaryPoppins1With the help of actors, directors, the play production and the ensemble, the musical was a collaborative effort both on and off the stage. “Without mics, the actors can’t be heard and without lights, the actors can’t be seen. Without the actors, lights and sounds wouldn’t have a reason to be there. No matter if you’re the lead or the main person at your job, we are reminded that everyone else is just as important because  without them we wouldn’t be able to have this show,” Howe said. Casanova added, “You can’t just have the actors act on a stage and you can’t just has a stage with no actors. So play (production) really helps the show go on, in a sense.”

In the hours spent together, students built relationships that lasted even after the conclusion of the shows. “You spend a lot of time with the same people over and over again, especially closer to the show. So you definitely have to build a relationship with them and it’s kind of fun because you become friends with people you never thought you would,” said Casanova.

Both inexperienced actors and those familiar with the scene shared the same pre-show jitters. “No matter how much you rehearse, the thing about theater is that you are almost guaranteed to mess up. You just need to know how to cover it up. So that’s where the nerves will mostly likely to come from,” Howe explained. Womack added, “Even though I’ve done shows before, I still get butterflies every time. Especially because one of the characters I play is really weird to just go out there and not be me anymore, I’m a weird banker guy who’s all mad.”

The performances put on gave the production members more than just nerves, but  a sense a satisfaction as well.“We worked so hard to put this production together and put in so many hours and to finally see the results and all your hard work pay off, it’s kind of like a ‘whoa, I really did that?’ Type of feeling.” Casanova explained. Womack added, “For the kids, it’s more than a show. To us, we’ve been doing it for a while so we know it’s a show, but to the kids it’s magical. When Mary Poppins pulls a coat rack from a bag and we know that it’s coming from downstage but to the kids it’s like, ‘Whoa how did she did do that, it was like magic!’ That’s where all the gratification come from for me, the way the audience reacts.”

Showings for “Mary Poppins” will continue on April 22, 23 and 24. As the production slowly comes to a close, students hope to take their experiences and apply it to other aspects of their lives and careers.