More than 40 kids showed up on Monday afternoon at the Heflin Armory to audition for the Missoula Children’s Theater Company production of “Gulliver’s Travels In Space.” The kids, all from Cleburne County, will work collaboratively with the production company for five days to put on the play.
One member of the company, Kay Onorati, said the idea was to update Gulliver’s Travels.
“Our company has adapted it from the original story and set it all in space so we have some crazy aliens and we have some giants and it stays pretty true to the storyline but it also is fun and exciting because we have put it into outer space and the galaxy,” Onorati said.
Alli Talmage will direct the play and this particular week Onorati will act with the children on stage — the two rotate the directorship from week to week.
“One of the things for me that makes it worth it is it’s not just another princess story. There’s a lot to be said about getting dudes involved in a show like this because it’s so gender-neutral,” Talmage said.
Talmage and Onorati brought all the equipment to put on the show including the walls, backdrops, costumes, light kit, sound equipment, props and makeup.
This marks the troupe’s seventh visit to Heflin courtesy of the Heflin Arts Council, according to council member Shane Smith.
“It’s really intense because they don’t get but five days to learn the show, so they have to really memorize their lines, go home and learn the music and sing. So I think it’s just good training for them to be able to be on stage — builds their confidence up as well — gives them chance to be a part of theater,” Smith said.
It costs $3,500 to $4,000 to bring the theater company to Heflin and that cost is covered by ticket sales and commercial sponsors, according to Smith. Smith said ticket sales money is also funneled back into the community for art programs for the kids.
“We also make sure that every child gets a free T-shirt,” Smith said.
Maggie Thompson, 10, was ready for the auditions along with the other thespian hopefuls.
Thompson has been in three previous Missoula Theater productions.
“I really like it because it gives kids the opportunity to learn how to act and to be actors so that could be a job option for them in the future. I just love doing it ’cause I love acting myself. I love all this stuff, yeah,” Thompson said.
Maggie’s mom, Jodie Thompson, said that she is glad her children are getting exposed to something that they don’t get to experience “around these areas.”
Rehearsals will continue through Thursday and the performance will be Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Armory at 115 Evans St. Tickets are $5 for students K-12 and $10 for adults.