Live, in-person theater is returning to Dolores Schools after being canceled all of 2020 because of the pandemic.
On May 7 and 8, the Dolores Theater Troupe will perform an adaptation of “The Jungle Book,” a classic tale by Rudyard Kipling.
The theatrical script by Joseph Robinette switches between the adventure of jungle animals and the real-life story of Kipling’s experiences at a British boarding school.
Student actor Katelyn Carpenter plays tiger Shere Khan, a hunter that preys on a young boy Mowgli, who finds protection in a wolf pack.
Khan is the villain representing a bully in Kipling’s life, but Mowgli uses his wits to creatively handle the situation, she said.
“A key moment in the play is when Mowgli says that strength comes in many forms, not just physical,” Carpenter says.
He uses his “mental strength and kindness” along with connections with the wolf pack to outsmart the tiger.
A distinct aspect of the play is that the audience can see how the people in Kipling’s life impact the characters in the story, Carpenter said.
Student actor Darwin Cooper plays dual roles of the wise wolf pack leader and its counterpart, the elderly headmaster of Kipling’s boarding school.
“I enjoy flipping roles from the school side to the jungle side,” Cooper said. “It’s fun and challenging at the same time.”
The play is interesting, he said, because actors are transforming human tendencies into animal tendencies.
“The audience will enjoy the classic story that is very close to the original and has good messaging. It’s always cool to see animals that are characterized with human traits,” Cooper says.
Thirty-five student actors, artists, and stagehands are involved in the performance, said director Pete Swingle. During a recent practice, seventh grader Ben Carpenter played a wolf and a monkey and Josh Benally worked as a stagehand.
Artist Shiloh Burger designed and created the masks and play poster. Students will play the bongos, and fifth grader Nathan Gaddis will play the keyboard.
“We’re celebrating our return to the stage. We invite the public to come and join us,” Swingle said.
Performances are May 7 at 7 p.m. and May 8 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the theater in the main gymnasium. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students.
Audience members are asked to social distance between groups and wear masks.