South Pacific Successful Performance

AMANDA RYAN, Reporter

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On Friday, November 10th, I had the pleasure of attending North Harford Highs’ beautifully constructed production of South Pacific in the school’s auditorium. Directed by Nancy Green and Angie Jones, the background of the musical is based on James A. Michener’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1947 book Tales of the South Pacific and combines elements of several of those stories. The music is composed by Richard Rodgers and the lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, which the cast and orchestra perform with the utmost of elegance and finesse.

The plot is centered on an island in the South Pacific during World War II in which Nellie Forbush, a Navy nurse from Little Rock, Arkansas, meets and falls in love with a middle-aged Frenchman, Emile de Becque. Emile is a planter and has lived on this island for twenty-five years.

Despite Emile’s charms, Nellie withdraws from his affections upon learning that he’s fathered two mixed-race children. When Nellie abandons him, the heartbroken Emile decides to embark on a risky mission. Meanwhile, Lt. Joe Cable is also fighting an internal battle of his own at the thought of fulfilling his desire of a future with a Tonkinese woman.

In Emile’s absence, Nellie struggles to resolve her preconceptions with her strong feelings for him, all the while worrying if Emile will even survive his journey. These two parallel forbidden love stories will fight against all odds when threatened by the dangers of prejudice and war.

Throughout the play, I often found myself forgetting that this was a performance complied by high school students. Each cast member performed with such devotion and passion, the whole production was accompanied by a feeling of maturity and professionalism.

Nellie Forbush and Emile de Becque, seniors Hannah Hieronimus and Garrett Thomas, sang each song with a combination of grace and power, their voices naturally and elegantly complementing one another. Junior Jacki Trost danced and jived to the catchy beat of “I’m Gonna Wash that Man Right Out of My Hair.” Also, sophomore Sarah Cameron’s smile lit up the room as she and the other island girls swayed out onto the stage.

The only critique I can think of is that occasionally, when the actors were speaking, the band would be playing at the same time and it made it a little hard to hear what was being said. Now that’s not saying that the band wasn’t greatly appreciated, because they did an awesome job, however it felt like they were overshadowing the actors during certain scenes.

Art Guild really outdid themselves with their carefully articulated backdrop of mountains and islands. The various hues and shades were instantly eye-catching throughout the entire show, as well as the various props brought out on set.

The scene featuring senior Aaron Rodgers as Captain George Brackett, included a desk filled with props such as a typewriter, old-style telephone, and a map on the wall. Also, the merchant stand run by Bloody Mary’s assistant, Abigail Vaughan, junior, was expertly crafted to roll on and off the stage.

Set design and stage crew, led by Dwyane Noe, Brady Green, and Tim Pistel, brought the show to life, providing the audience an even more enjoyable experience. And let’s not forget the choreography, created by Larissa Arist, Christine Jestel, and senior Abby Renzulli, that was simple enough for each actor to perform it well, yet diverse enough to hold the audience’s attention.

During my seven years at North Harford, I’ve watched many musicals and this one easily takes the cake. Now before word of the play got out, I never heard of South Pacific, and I had my doubts because of it. However, I can say that I was pleasantly surprised to have those doubts whisked away by the amazing and inspiring performances I witnessed in that three-hour time-frame.  I can’t wait to see what they come up with next year!

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South Pacific Successful Performance