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7 characters will ‘fly’ in Albion’s production of Tarzan

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 March 2017 at 10:34 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Enoch Martin plays Tarzan and swings across the set during a rehearsal this afternoon. Enoch is one of seven characters who have harnesses and will fly on stage during the Tarzan shows later this week in the Middle School Auditorium.

Albion has had flying characters before with Peter Pan and Beauty and the Beast, but never with so many different characters.

“It’s awesome for the kids,” said Gary Simboli, the musical director.

Caleb Pettit, left, and Donato Rosario serve as the “flyers” for Joe Madejski, who is in a harness and ready to be hoisted high on the stage.

The school is working with D2 Flying Effects from Tennesee for the system. The company was on site in Albion last Thursday and Friday to give four “flyers” a tutorial on running the system. Caleb Pettit, Tess Pettit, Brennan Moody and Donato Rosario are all serving in the roles, helping to attach wires to harnesses, and run the tracking system. The flyers wear thick gloves while they pull the wires to move characters up and down, and to send them across the stage and back.

Using the flying equipment cost about $7,000. To make up for that expense, the gorilla costumes were are homemade, using pieces from about 1,000 donated T-shirts. Simboli said the drama department also made one set backdrop, using shopping bags from Wegmans, to reduce the cost for sets.

Caleb Pettit and Donato Rosario work together to send Joe Madejski flying out onto the set in Tarzan.

Enoch Martin uses his harness throughout the show. The sophomore took to the air for the first time Thursday.

“It was really fun,” he said.

The harness can be uncomfortable, Martin said. But he could sense the excitement among the cast and crew on Thursday, when the characters soared above the stage.

Besides Tarzan, other characters who get to fly include Riley Seielstad (Tarzan’s human mother), Connor Zicari (Tarzan’s human father), Angela Tarricone (Jane), Chase Froman (who plays a leopard), Kate Krieger (who plays a gorilla) and Joe Madejski (who plays Terk, a fun gorilla who is Tarzan’s good friend.)

Madejski is active in Boy Scouts and has been on high adventure ropes courses. Those experiences helped him to feel comfortable right away on stage with a harness and wire.

Joe Madejski is high in the air and upside down in this scene, where he plays Terk.

While Madejski felt at home in a harness, Riley Seielstad had the opposite feeling her first time flying on stage.

“It was the scariest experience,” she said. “You learn to trust your flyers.”

Moody and Tess Pettit run the wires and move Seielstad across the stage.

Seielstad said she feels much more comfortable after a few days of practice.

“Yesterday I had a flying breakthrough,” she said.

Rosario has homeroom with Kathy Winans, co-director of the show. She mentioned to her student that the stage crew needed a volunteer as a flyer. Rosario offered to give it a try, starting last week. It’s his first time as a part of an Albion musical.

“It’s cool to be part of something this big,” he said. “Everybody does their part. It’s awesome.”

Show times are Friday at 7 p.m., and Saturday at noon and 7 p.m.

Joe Madejski and six other characters in Tarzan are rehearsing scenes, including choreography, while ascended on stage. They added the flying dimension last Thursday.

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