The ‘Bear’ necessities are coming to WSC

Kadra Sommersted, Staff Writer

By only spending 75 minutes of time students can watch “The Jungle Book”- coming soon to the Ramsey Theatre (near you!).

It will be playing March 21-23, at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., only by reservation; and again March 24-25 at 1 p.m., for general admission.

“I chose ‘The Jungle Book’ because we wanted to do a children’s play that everyone in our surrounding communities would be excited about the chance to come see,” said Jeanne Tiehen assistant Communication Arts professor.

“The main character is Mowgli – a young boy raised by wolves – who in our production is played by Claire Barnes,” said Tiehen.

She said that they also have characters that are well known from the book and movies like Baloo the bear, Bagheera the black panther, Kaa that snake and Shere Khan the tiger.

Ben Bjorklund is playing Baloo, while Skyler Stefanski is playing Bagheera. Kaa is played by Tabitha Belmont and Dakota Schroll is playing Shere Khan.

“There is also a strong wolf pack in the play, some really playful monkeys and a sort of Greek chorus of birds too,” said Tiehen.

She said that the play has name recognition and she has always liked the story. Tiehen said that she enjoyed this adaptation of the story because of its humor and how the story unravels.

“I thought it would be fun for actors to explore ideas of playing
characters with animal traits,” said Tiehen.

She said that she and the cast have been watching animal clips to
discover animal behaviors that can be added to the production.

“I will be portraying Mowgli,” said Claire Barnes, freshman. “An
11-year-old boy who has grown up in the jungle surrounded by the many animals that call it home.”

Barnes said that this will be her first performance on the Wayne State College stage, and she has enjoyed working with and getting to know new people.

“All involved with the show create the perfect environment to learn, explore and have fun while doing it,” said Barnes.

She said that as a theatre student she loves having opportunities to be able to apply techniques and topics
that she has learned in class. This play is perfect for Barnes to get out of her comfort zone and usual characters.

“I’m the technical director,” said Brian Begley, assistant professor of theatre and director of technical theatre. “So I’m building the set.”

Begley said that the set is fairly open and simple. It is very green and jungle-like and the scene doesn’t change throughout the play except for some moving vines.

“It’s a delightful little show designed for children, young audiences,” said Begley. “I think it’s pretty entertaining, for grown-ups too.”