Rehearsals for Klaglahachie Fine Arts Society’s (KFAS) Mary Poppins is moving along nicely with actors and producers working dedicated hours to make it happen.
Director Kevin Ferguson said the play, based on a series of books by Pamela Lyndon Travers, is quite different from the 1964 Walt Disney movie. “The movie is more like a romp whereas the play really has this family, George and Winifred Banks, who are really drifting apart.”
“Mary Poppins comes along, and actually in a lot of ways she’s a marriage councillor — she actually saves this family — is what this play is about,” added Ferguson.
He says the play has quite a bit more depth to the characters, which will leave playgoers with more emotional attachment to the personalities portrayed. Not only is there substance to the characters, the music is quite dynamic, which has made things challenging on the production side.
“The music’s written for mostly ‘black keys,’ which is really more jazz oriented,” said Ferguson.
Add to that the element of choreographed dances during musical numbers, actors and crews are having to put in more time to ensure a seamless production.
“Here’s the beauty though, I don’t think another cast could have pulled this off,” said Ferguson, “This cast is loaded with talent.”
Dance numbers, staging and set design are starting to take shape and Ferguson looks forward to them all coming together for opening night Friday, Nov. 27.
The complexity of the songs sometimes has Ferguson and musical director Althea Lewis wishing for the days of Sound of Music. Lewis said there were challenging harmonies in the Sound of Music yet in Mary Poppins, “Every second of third song is like that,” said Lewis.
To get actors ready for the songs, Lewis started them with the basic notes and harmonies and built up the songs from there. She is impressed with everyone’s ability to rise to the challenge. “Everybody’s invested in it. They’ve really been working hard.”
Ferguson said there are some surprises that he would not elaborate on, when asked to explain how Mary Poppins enters the stage, all he would say is: “Come and see.”
The play will be in production for three weekends from Nov. 27 to Dec. 12. For tickets call KFAS at 403-783-4087.