Little Mermaid production takes Kelowna under the sea and into the air | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Little Mermaid production takes Kelowna under the sea and into the air

Becca Thackray stars as Ariel in the upcoming show.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Kelowna Actors Studio (Courtnee Leeh & Mina Aiur)
July 16, 2019 - 6:30 AM

KELOWNA - If you can't sing underwater, you might as well fly while you belt your heart out; at least that's what the actors in the upcoming production of The Little Mermaid plan on doing.

The Little Mermaid is a cornerstone of the Disney Renaissance, but it presents several technical challenges for theatrical productions, the biggest being the main character is supposed to be underwater with a fish tail instead of legs for a majority of the runtime. Since you can't fill a stage with several tons of water, you have to get creative. Director Randy Leslie decided to make his actors fly.

Leslie is the director for the Kelowna Actors Studio's production of The Little Mermaid in August. The group settled on the Disney classic well over a year ago, securing the rights to produce the show after a month of waiting. They knew the show wouldn't be easy to put on.

"A lot of companies don't do it because of the technical difficulties," he said.

To simulate the sensation of characters swimming under the sea, the Studio, with help from a Chicago company, created a fly system, an elaborate web of wires that will allow actors to soar above the stage, particularly during big numbers like Part of Your World. Leslie describes the production as a cross between Disney and Cirque du Soleil.

The fly system isn't the only technical marvel. The show also fills the entire stage with dry ice during Kiss the Girl and Leslie said they also use CryoJets for a scene involving Ursula the sea witch. It's a big production, one that cost the Studio $200,000 to put on.

Leslie said he wanted the show to be the ultimate family entertainment, something that can amuse kids while also providing a "sensory experience for adults."

Despite the impressive scope of the show, actors only had six weeks to get their parts down pat. They'll start dress rehearsals this week ahead of their Aug. 1 debut.

The famous film's story of a mermaid who ventures into the human world will be brought vividly to life by Becca Thackray as Ariel, Hannah de Job as the villainous Ursula, and the rest of the cast.

"There's some really strong performances," Leslie said. "Visually, it's our most stunning production."

The Little Mermaid runs at the Kelowna Community Theatre at 1375  Water Street from Aug. 1 to 10. The show runs at 7:30 p.m. every night, with 1 p.m. matinee shows on Aug. 3 and 10.

General tickets are $70. You can book your seat here or by calling 250-862-2867.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Sean Mott or call (250) 864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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