Thousands of children will experience the magic of theatre this week as Theatre MSU presents “The Amazing Adventures of the Marvelous Monkey King” on the main stage of McComas Hall.
Directed by Jo Durst, the play tells the story of the mischievous Chinese superhero, the Monkey King as he dances and battles his way through life learning lessons of leadership, responsibility and forgiveness.
Durst said she looks for a variety of theatrical components when researching children’s shows in an effort to appeal to both younger and older audiences.
“I look for a story that teaches a lesson, contains humor, has a lot of action and one that introduces wonderful characters,” she said. “If you do the humor for adults on one level and for the children on another level you can create something with multi-generational appeal.”
Durst said the part of this year’s script appealed to her from a cultural aspect.
“I wanted to incorporate a different aspect culturally to take them to,” she said. “I wanted to the dance and music of traditional Chinese opera instruments. Claire Wilson and Simone Cottrell did all of the musical arrangements.”
The show’s costumers, Melanie Harris and Amy Fortenberry, both agreed that dressing the actors for this particular production create the opportunity to run wild with their imaginations and incorporate fantastical and unusual fabric combinations.
“The children are always open to accepting the magic of theatre,” Harris said. “They come in ready to go along and play along with whatever you throw at them.”
Durst said part of the show’s appeal to children comes from the dance scenes scattered throughout the Monkey King’s story.
“Hyo Suk Kang, professional dancer in South Korea and the United States, came in and worked on the dance and movement of certain parts of the show,” she said. “It was fantastic to have someone come in who had done this professional and offer that to the actors. They all achieved a real sense of grace and she taught them how to have confidence.”
Durst said martial arts fight sequences are also a part of this production, an aspect that required much attention.
“We had help coming in to make sure we were doing it properly, and we rehearsed and rehearsed those scenes so that we had complete control,” she said. “I knew the martial arts and fight sequences would appeal to the children.”
Durst said the production is appealing to all ages and is excited to share the story with not only area school children, but the Starkville community as well.
“This show is a look into an entirely different culture and it’s amazing to listen to originally scored music as the show teaches its lesson,” she said. “And, it’s just a visually fun show to see.”
Theatre MSU will present a matinee of “The Amazing Adventures of the Marvelous Monkey King” Sunday at 2 p.m. at McComas Hall with a cookies and punch reception to follow.
For more information, call 662-325-3203.