photo by TANIAH TUDOR
Alma High School student Jaime Strong closes her eyes as she blows fire in the opening act of “Carnival” during a dress rehearsal Monday at the Alma Performing Arts Center. Strong creates the fireball by spewing kerosene on a lit torch.
Mykaela Sparks’ character, a circus performer, plays the organ during dress rehearsal during the opening act.
Actors perform a musical number in full costume during dress rehearsal Monday. All costumes, sets and props for the show were created by students and theater faculty.
Alma senior Alex Burris plays Paul Berthalets, a puppeteer who is embittered over a crippling injury that ended his dancing career.
The suave and manipulative magician Marco the Magnificent, played by junior Kyle White, is surrounded by a group of his admirers.
Senior Jordan Jones plays Lilli, a naive orphan girl who joins the circus and catches the attention of both a womanizing magician and a bitter, crippled puppeteer.
More than 100 students in stunning, steampunk style costumes will perform daring aerial acts, feats of illusion and riveting musical numbers as part of “Carnival” this week at the Alma Performing Arts Center.
“Carnival” is the story of a naive orphan girl, Lilli Daurier, who is taken in as an apprentice to a traveling French circus, the Cirque de Paris.
While learning to earn her way in the circus, Lilli develops the ability to relate to the puppets designed and performed by Paul Berthalet.
Berthalet, who eventually falls in love with Lilli, is embittered due to a crippling accident that destroyed his dancing career.
Public performances are Thursday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 8 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students.
Based on the 1953 movie “Lillie,” the show was the vision of Alma’s drama teacher and theater director Terry McGonigle.
“It’s a show that I’ve always wanted to do and I waited until the right time when I thought we were ready,” McGonigle said.
McGonigle tweaked the story a bit, casting actors in the parts as puppets and giving the entire show a steampunk theme through the set decoration and costumes.
All costumes, props and sets were created by the 111 students, both new and seasoned actors, and eight drama faculty members who are part of the show, said Teresa Schlabach, Alma PAC executive director.
“This is the biggest musical we’ve done in five years with the most students,” Schlabach said. “They really got excited about presenting this classical musical, but with a twist.”
Included in the show are actual circus acts, including tumblers, stilt walkers and aerial acts, also McGonigle’s idea.
The Aerial Angels from Starfish Circus came to Alma for a week to train students in the acts, Schlabach said, and the school’s choreographer, Malia Drinkwitz, expanded on what they had learned.
What results is a visually stunning show full of dramatic feats of athleticism and powerful musical performances.
“It’s got something for everyone and I think even children are going to enjoy the show; I think that’s what is so fun about it,” Schlabach said.
For tickets or more information, contact the Alma PAC box office at (479)632-2129.