GUERNSEY—What happens when you take 38 kids aging from kindergarten through high school, give them a new identity, dress them in clothing that isn’t necessarily sized for them, ask them to learn a dialogue long enough to tell a complete story and learn to do so in less time than most spend doing homework? There could be several answers but in this case, you have the recipe for another successful performance of the Missoula Children’s Theater at Guernsey-Sunrise Schools.
This year, the production was a look through a comedic lens at the famous Arabian stories that intertwined Sinbad the Sailor, Ali Baba, Scheherazade, genies and a special lamp that would grant Aladdin special wishes, even though his biggest desire was just to take a princess to the prom.
Crowds at two performances last Saturday in the west gym witnessed a wide cast of characters crossing paths at center stage that included vagabonds, wonders of the world, talking palm trees, a genie, camels and a troupe of adorable but lost penguin, all in addition to a core cast.
The cast of characters included:
Aladdin: Dacotah Morgan
Scheherazade: Mickayla VanNatter
Dinazade: Brooke Sterner
Princess Dory: Mackenzie Romero
Sultan: Justin Miller
Mysterious One: Ben Hermann (tour director of MCT)
Aladdin’s Mother: Alanae Oliver
Donkey: Ally Ann Jaramillo
Goat: Autumn Davis
Ali Baba: Joey Noganash
Cassim: Marcus Romero
Sinbad: Colton Morgan
Sailors: Nathan VanNatter, Alexis Atwood, Dymond Jaramillio, Linkon Rotz, Joseph Marshall, Connor Bristow
Palm Trees: Laura Fairbanks, Shelby Morgan
Camels: Kaelie Marshall, Charlie Hollin
Cave of Wonders: Isabella Tillman, Karli Weinkauf, Jordan Atwood, Misty Morales, Leni Dimas
Vagabonds: Keira Finkle, Briar Martinez, Shae Stark, William Knowlton, Isaac Miller, Jaxon Pafford, Abigail Seyfang
Penguins: NeVaeh Ibarra, Kenzie Mansfield, Henry Zapf, Riley Jones, Eliot Tilman
Tour Directors from the Missoula Children’s Theater: Ben Hermann, Julia Bourland
Accompanist: Lorie Morgan
Local Sponsor: Platte County School District #2/Guernsey Community Education
Host Family for Tour: Cory and Lisa Bristow
Additional Help/Water for Rehearsals: Sheila Oliver-Guernsey Public Library
Missoula Children’s Theater, headquartered in Missoula, Montana, brings the reality of acting to children all over the world. Two tour directors travel all over, bringing with them the props, costumes, play books and a special talent to work with children to produce a complete play performance in literally five days. But the term day is a bit misleading because tryouts are held on a Monday after school and parts are assigned. The actors return each evening for several hours, learning their lines and all the blocking and staging over the remaining five days. The play is presented in two performances on the Saturday of that week. It is a wonderful opportunity to introduce children into the world of theater, especially important to so many small communities for which this is the only connection to theater the children may get.
Missoula Children’s Theater International Tours is sponsored through Art Works, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Montana Arts Council, participating school districts and public donations. Tour directors are hosted by local families for the week and communities also provide help and the daily needs such as snacks and drinks for the children at rehearsals.
The Missoula Children’s Theater has been to Guernsey for a number of productions over the recent years. Former productions include Blackbeard the Pirate, Rumplestiltskin, and Jack and the Beanstalk.