TCHS Theatre Company will open its annual spring production at 7 p.m., Saturday, May 10, at the TCHS auditorium. The group will be performing The Jungle Book, a play adapted by Monica Flory from the Disney classic. The cast will be adorned in various animal costumes, which may appeal to young children. Future performances are scheduled at 2 p.m., Sunday, May 11; 7 p.m., Saturday, May 17 and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 18.
The role of Mowgli is played by Senior, Brandi Hackney. She described her character as “an adventurous boy being raised by wolves, who is trying to do his best to help his pack. But when he enters the village he discovers he is human and doesn’t know where he belongs. Mowgli makes good choices because his decisions are based on what’s good for the pack.” Hackney said she likes how Mowgli “gets along with pretty much everybody in the village and how if someone helps him he returns the favor.”
Lizzy Fenner plays the role of Baloo, the “giant bear.” Fenner stated, “He’s really fun-loving and has a soft side, but sometimes tries to act like he doesn’t. Baloo is very protective of Mowgli. He wants the best for him and tries to give it to him any way he can. I’m looking forward to having such a big role, especially when I’m only a sophomore. Baloo was always my favorite character when I was little. I like how I can have fun with him. Because of my personality it’s easy to get into character because he jokes around all the time.”
Sophomore, Kaylee Nedrow described her character, Shere Khan, the tiger, as “ruthless.” Nedrow explained, “He really hates Mowgli. He feels it is unfair the pack kept his “prize” because he wanted to keep little Mowgli and eat him. I like how he is not afraid to step on others to get what he wants. He keeps his eye on the prize. Shere Khan’s only friend is Tabaqui, a jackal portrayed by Bayli Helmick, who he treats like a servant. It is a fun character to play because being ruthless is the opposite of my personality.”
Senior, Savannah Ambrose tackles the role of Bagheera, the panther. “She is a good friend of Mowgli and Baloo. She is very smart and many fear her.” Ambrose described her experience playing a “serious character” versus the comedic roles she portrayed in past performances. “I like that it’s a change of pace. Learning so many lines has been somewhat difficult because of my hectic schedule, but it’s coming along nicely. I’m excited to see how everything comes together.”
Other cast members include Matt Louk as Father Wolf, Cheala Hackney as Mother Wolf, Taylor Prevatte as Wolf, Jonna Burnside as Cub, Tereaza Stull as Funky (monkey) and Troy Young as Trout (monkey). Sarah Davis portrays Akela, the leader of the wolf pack and Kaa, the snake.
Serving as co-directors are Josh Thompson and Hannah Lancaster. Thompson, who also portrays a monkey named Cheeky, is excited about the production. “It’s a nice story not only for adults but also for kids. It teaches perseverance through difficult situations, and even if you are different, you can still belong.” In addition to directing the play, Lancaster performs the role of Messua, a girl from the local village. She commended the cast stating, “They have worked very hard, and I’m super proud of them.”
After 10 plays together, Thompson and Lancaster said they hate to see their theatre careers at TCHS come to an end. Thompson said, “I’m sad it’s my last high school play, but I plan to continue working in theatre at Davis and Elkins College where I will major in English and theatre with a minor in education.” He said he hopes to teach drama someday. Lancaster concluded, “It breaks my heart to think this is my 10th and final production, but I couldn’t be more proud to end my high school theatre career with this play.”
Producer Jay Smith said he is very proud of the hard work the students have put into the production, and he hopes the community will support their efforts by attending the performances over the next two weeks. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for students and $3 for children 10 and under.