This week we welcome Theater and Movement Teacher Erin Lally and Communications Coordinator Caitlin Jarvis as guest authors!
It is true what they say in the theater, the show must go on.
Even though this year Seattle had uncharacteristic amounts of snow and school closures you wouldn’t be able to tell that if you walked into Westside’s theater this week during Mary Poppins Jr. rehearsals. It is clear our students have been very hard at work to make up for missed classes and are set to put on a great show.
It feels like you’ve been transported from West Seattle to a different place entirely. There are beautiful backdrops and well-built props, the students are singing and dancing in suits and floor length skirts reminiscent of Edwardian London, and there’s even a Mary Poppins on stage speaking and singing in a British accent with her iconic tote and umbrella.
Westside Middle School students are involved in semiweekly double-block Musical Theater Class where they work on choreography, singing, and stage directions. Our Technical Theater Flex Friday Class is made up of students from 5th through 8th grade who work on the various design elements of the show including props, set design, lighting, and costumes.
This team process has been a great collaboration between Theater and Movement Teacher Erin Lally, Music Teacher Carl Edwards, and Preschool & Pre-Kindergarten Instructional Assistant Nicole Sleiers. This team, alongside Westside parent volunteers/experts in their field John Hathaway (set designer) and Vivian Smith (costume designer), have put together a show that is certain to entertain people of all ages.
We’ve interviewed the Westside 8th graders who star in Mary Poppins Jr. as Mary Poppins (Daly) and Bert (Lauren).
- What have been some of the highlights of your experience so far?
Lauren: Learning the dances for the big numbers and seeing them all together is really cool, and also seeing how each person takes the dance and makes it their own.
Daly: Getting to know the people. There are some people that I haven’t interacted with before so that’s been fun, and also building a stronger community within Middle School and within the play is really awesome.
- How do you prepare for your role?
Lauren: We watched the movie in class so I took notes from Bert- he’s very happy and dancy and theatrical. He’s chill and he always seems to know what’s going on.
Daly: For Mary, I watched the movie a couple of times. She’s very proper... She always knows what to do and she’s practically perfect, basically.
- How do you "get in character"?
Daly: Just thinking “now you are not Daly, now you are Mary Poppins.”
Lauren: You just have to put yourself in that setting and that character.
- What's your favorite song/number that you sing?
Lauren: Playing the Game/Jolly Holiday
- How did you learn the accent?
Daly: What really helped was we had a lot of meetings with Steve. He was gave me lots of tips and was helping me with what letters to make hard and soft. Also, just making sure that my voice is really light and airy like Mary Poppins’.
Our students are very excited for their show and we all hope you can make it out to see them!
Wednesday, March 6 and Thursday, March 7 at 6:30pm. Both performances are open to the public.