The Little Mermaid was the topic on everyone’s lips last weekend, as the Edgartown School Junior High took the stage to tell the age old Hans Christian Anderson tale through words and song.
Two performances took place Friday and Saturday evening under the direction of Donna Swift and Kelly Sullivan in the Edgartown School gymnasium. Sea creatures kind and cruel and, of course, crabby swarmed the set replete with costumes and backdrops ably constructed by the young thespians themselves.
Younger siblings eagerly looked on, yearning for their chance to someday grab the spotlight on the same stage. Proud parents applauded, and teachers nodded along — and some even walked the boards themselves to add to the all-hands-on-deck spirit of this year’s production.
“Flounder’s hair looks like a blue Mohawk,” exclaimed one young theater-goer of Ariel’s fish friend, played by Heather Kirwin.
“Wait until you see Mr. Faber!” warned another, remarking on science teacher David Faber’s role as a princess alongside several other brave educators. From MCAS prep to comic relief, what won’t these courageous souls do for these kids?
But while we are on the subject of the students, let’s talk about the talent. Amelia Craig put her pretty soprano to work in several solos as our mer-heroine, Ariel. Warner Hess was a crabby clawed delight as Sebastian, scampering about, bidding Prince Eric, played by Wyatt Belisle, to go on and “kiss dee girl.” Scuttle, played by Carina Cataloni, and Chef Louis, played by Avery Simmons, provided the laughs with their respective knowledge of cutlery and celebration of its uses.
Caitlin McHugh was a powerhouse in her role as Ursula, along with her sidekicks, Flotsam (Rhanna DeOliveira) and Jetsam (Zack Vukota). Pilot Ryan Murray manned a steady helm above the waves, while Josh Pinto as King Triton kept peace below. And the quintet of mermaids played by Savannah Reed, Raven McCormack, Kazara Aldeborgh, Jovanna Lowell-Bettencourt, and Avery Simmons flurried about prettily all the while.
The onstage action was complemented by offstage creativity, particularly in the concessions for sale in the lobby. Crab cookies, fish cupcakes, and blue-frosted pretzel sticks as well as the crowd-pleasing good ol’ Vlasic “sea cucumbers” provided ample nourishment inspired by the ocean’s depths.
Saturday night’s performance was followed by many thank-yous and offerings of flowers and gifts. First came the bouquets from students to the dynamic duo of Swift and Sullivan. Next the leaders thanked the crew behind the scenes, a group of seven or so black-clad stagehands who ensured smooth sailing from scene to scene. Finally, this school year’s departing eighth-graders were presented with gifts to commemorate their Edgartown School theater careers.
From actors to light techs, providers of sustenance to adoring fans, The Little Mermaid was a collaborative success. It clearly takes not just a village but the entire lost city of Atlantis to raise a production such as this, and there was not one “Poor Unfortunate Soul,” but a plentitude of smiles to be found “Under the Sea.”