Nearly 50 Plains students performed in and helped produce Missoula Children’s Theater’s (MCT) wild, space-travel odyssey version of “Gulliver’s Travels” last Saturday.
The classic tale of exploration and discovery was retold with interplanetary transport and “aliens,” who clarified that THEY were not aliens — they lived there. The old theme included Gulliver’s realization that humans were very Yahoo-like — ignorant, primitive and materialistic. This was augmented with the play’s conclusion, that the Yahoos’ Houyhnhnm Horse overlords agreed to let them go to school, with a musical celebration of “School is Cool.”
To accommodate a plethora of talent, two fine actresses split the lead roll of Gulliver, Darian Cremer and Mikiah Cook. Gabe Raymont starred as the malfunctional JCN (Gulliver’s Jason), Jacob Lulack and Peyton Wasson as the Giant King and Queen of Brobdingnag, Hallie Corbin as the Princess, and Anna Hafner as the “Maniacal Scientist of Lapunta.”
The performance rollicked with universal glee, featuring talented Horses, Yahoos, Robots, Lilliputians, and Blefuscudians of all sizes and planetary cultures. MCT’s Austin Sutlzbach played the “Invisible” Force of Good. Local pianist Heidi Mack provided musical accompaniment
Directed by MCT’s Cassandra Lampen, the cast was assembled at Monday auditions. They then immediately began a grueling schedule of four hours of after-school rehearsals throughout the week.
This was the 40th year MCT has been produced in Plains, sponsored by Plains Woman’s (PWC) all that time. Besides providing the $2,500 it costs to put the show on each year, PWC provides housing for the MCT directors, publicity, the pianist, and dinners for the cast all week. PWC raises funds for this purpose through their annual rummage sale and catering the annual National Turkey Foundation dinner.
“We sponsor this as part of our education initiative,” says PWC secretary Ellen Childress. “It is such a good confidence builder and offers a chance to expand their cultural experience.”