The much anticipated holiday performance of the Sound of Music by the Klaglahachie Fine Arts Society is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
The popular play is well known for its catchy songs of an Austrian family getting to know their new governess, but many of the songs have two, three and in some cases six part harmonies. Ponoka thespians have had to step up their game. No one realized how difficult the Sound of Music songs actually were, explained musical director, Althea Lewis.
She said the young actors playing the part of the von Trapp children have made her proud at how quick they have learned the songs. “It’s hard to express. I have admiration for them.”
Many of the actors have little experience with two and three part harmonies but have taken on the challenge with gusto. Some of the younger actors are singing songs at a higher level than they’re used to.
“They’re very musical people. They can sing,” stated Lewis.
The teenage actors have taken up a leadership role with their younger counterparts, something that has impressed her. One song has proved an inspiration to her; there is a scene where nuns in the play sing a six-part harmony a capella. But after only three solid singing practices, actors have been able to perform the song well.
Director Kevin Ferguson said without Lewis, rehearsals would be more stressful. But “if it weren’t for the talent of the cast, we wouldn’t be able to pull this off.”
The quality of singing talent meant much of the songs stayed in the play and Ferguson did not have to strip it down. Working with the leads, Kevin Debree (Captain von Trapp) and Megan Sweet (Maria), has also seen its rewards. He chose Sweet for the lead female role because of her strength and dedication. “
“Every rehearsal she gets better,” said Ferguson.
“You wait till there’s a crowd in front of her,” he added.
Both have acting and singing experience, which is a plus, explained Ferguson. Debree is able to portray a stern and unfeeling Captain but softens up as the story progresses, he added.
“This cast is probably one of the best casts I’ve ever worked with,” stated Ferguson.
There is a strong cast unity as well, which is something Ferguson is not used to seeing. The teenage actors work hard to support the younger ones and he has seen little animosity among actors.
With a play this challenging, Ferguson said the first step is to get actors to develop their character. “I tell them they don’t own that part. You’ve gotta earn it,” he said.
But as they become more familiar with a character, Ferguson is able to step back and allow creative freedom. “The beauty is in that moment. For a brief few weeks that craft you made is going to shine…That’s theatre.”
Play dates are: Nov. 29, 30 and Dec. 1. Then Dec. 6 to 8 and Dec. 13 and 14. To purchase tickets call 403-783-4087.