NU Theatre gets physical
Niagara University Theatre will produce The Boy Who Could Sing Pictures as its last production of the semester, from Dec. 8-18.
Directed by adjunct professors of physical theater Terry Judd and Robin Patterson, The Boy Who Sing Pictures is based on the children's book by Seymour Leichman.
The story is about how a child-like king rules his domain. A young boy, Ben, played by Mackenzie Gildemeyer, has an ability to make pictures appear in the sky when he sings. He uses this talent to demonstrate to the king all the hardships he is causing his subjects. The two antagonists, Pomp and Circumstance, are jealous of this talent and influence the king to imprison the child.
According to senior theater major Mary Boatman, who plays Meliasande, the production's theme is two-fold. Ben has a message like Spider-Man's: with great power comes great responsibility, Boatman says. On the other hand, the king's message is that you shouldn't always let others influence decisions that are yours.
This production is unique for a Niagara University production because it relies heavily on aspects of physical theater, such as mask work, puppeteering, and body movements. Richard Cole, who plays Pomp, Al Capitano, and Bellecanto, was able to build upon his physical theater skills by practicing his mask skills along with his body movements. Along with building his physical theater techniques, Cole was also able to practice characterization.
I learned how to change character quickly during a production, Cole says.
This play is one we actors can truly ˜play' on stage, says Boatman. We get to portray characters and wear costumes that most actors never will. It's a once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience.
Cole and Boatman agree that The Boy Who Could Sing Pictures is a unique opportunity for Niagara students to take advantage of. It provides them (students) with a production that revolves around physical theater and this is not often the case in NU productions, Cole says. It is also a good show for children all the way up to adults.
The cast includes Patrick J. Tighe as Zoomac; Boatman; Gildemeyer; Cole; Dan Urtz as Lightfoot; Annise Celano and Leanne Troutman as the Lute Sisters; Fabio H. Del Carlo; Kathleen Denecke; Greggory Gansworth; Billy Leonard; Kendyl Litwiller; and Stephanie Wattie as puppeteers.
The Boy Who Could Sing Pictures opens at 7 p.m. on Dec. 8 and at 7:30 p.m. on the 9, 10, 16 and 17. There are 2 p.m. showings on Dec. 10, 11, 17 and 18. Niagara University theater productions are free for NU students with valid IDs.