By: Katie Galusha, playing the role of Jane Banks in Mary Poppins
Reason #1: Expectations are going to be met, if not exceeded.
The issue with Mary Poppins as a show is the expectations that audience members have. It is also very cool to see the magic from your childhood come to life, which makes that a big demand for special effects.
But WHS English teacher and director Jeff Roets has been aware of this problem, yet was very crafty with fitting it onto our stage.
“We are limited to our stage. Projections for the scene landscapes, and the peninsulas on each side of the stages create space. The need to have levels on stage in order to create some magic and come underneath places for entrances, also make some space backstage. We cannot make big pieces unless they stay on stage the entire time.”
Senior Jared Kauffman has the amazing opportunity to use his talents to portray the narrator of the show, Bert. The role of Bert calls for a lot of energy and expectations that are set by audiences as well.
Senior Katie Ginter will play Mary Poppins and was willing to share her thoughts with playing the lead role.
“In a regular show, if you are a lead, you hang out in the wings and are in the show half of the time. But in this show, these particular leads [Mary, Bert, Children] require a lot of stamina, because you need to be on stage quite a bit.”
The children and Mary are in almost every scene, and Bert coming in a close second. The task of being ‘on’ is quite daunting.
Much like Bert, Mary Poppins requires a lot of energy, and has many expectations. Neither Kauffman nor Ginter disappoints, even for a Disney fan like me.
Ginter has acquired the persona of Mary with the sass and strictness that Mary Poppins is known for.
“Definitely both [sassiness and strictness are important to Mary]. To be a little sassy and kind of poke fun at the Banks parents. But I think they [sassiness and strictness] are both are quintessential to her being.”
Junior Hailey Baranowski gets to play one of the two kids, Michael Banks. As we’re teenagers, the transition from teen to child can be difficult.
“It can be a little harder sometimes because [Michael is] a boy. So, switching into that mindset too when you’re on stage, and acting the way a person in a different country of that age would, while still being appropriate, is challenging. I just need to try and get rid of that teenage mind while doing lines, and really become a child.”
Baraonowski went from long, run-on-sentence lines as Yente in Fiddler on The Roof, to quick, witty, and humorous responses as Michael this year.
Reason #2: An opportunity to see some ‘on stage magic.’
The stage effects within the show are simply amazing. The stage crew have a lot of responsibilities for the ‘magic’ to come to life. Thus far, they have not disappointed.
There are still some finishing touches regarding props, but it will be worth the wait.
“The tech guys that we have helping us are really good figuring things out hands-on, but they needed to see something first, and as did I. I saw what I wanted in my head, but had no idea how to get it there. So we watched a lot of Youtube video, a lot of other schools and companies that have been really good about putting stuff up. That’s been really helpful [with designing the set and stage effects]” said Roets.
Along with the ‘magic,’ the scene changes will be very quick making the show run with fluidity that a broadway performance has accustomed to.
Reason #3: Iconic Music That EVERYONE knows.
Mary Poppins has all of the songs you know and love from the movie, plus some beautiful and fun additions. My personal favorite additions are “Brimstone and Treacle,” and “Being Mrs.Banks”.
The pit, with Dave Dion conducting, is full of very talented individuals. The introduction of the pit was a difficult addition in our 9-hour rehearsal during the last day of February Break, yet very flexible and adaptive for the needs of everyone within the pit and on the stage.
Many lines in the show are spoken over some music, so the majority of the show relies on trust between the actors and the pit.
After speaking to Ginter, Baraonowski, and Roets, make sure to watch out for the musical numbers “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” “Being Mrs. Banks” (Sung beautifully by Junior Lauren Lesser), and “Let’s Go Fly a Kite”.
Come see Mary Poppins, March 8th and 9th, at 7:30pm, and Sunday, March 10th, at 3:00pm, to see all the magic you love and all the numbers that you never saw coming in that show.
Tickets can be purchased online at https://www.showtix4u.com/events/215 , $10 for students/Seniors and $14 for adults. If you do not buy your tickets online, you can purchase tickets at the door, however prices may vary.
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