AMS players pumped for a show

AMHERST – February may just be another frigid month to you, but to the Amherst Middle School Theater Club, it was "play" time. As cold winter winds blew across New Hampshire during February, the AMS Theater Club has been working diligently since November to transport audiences to a sunny Caribbean island with a tale of what happens when fickle gods interfere in the lives of the peasants. The play follows Ti Moune, a young girl orphaned by a terrible storm, through her life on her tropical island. The gods call the tune and the peasants dance in the musical "Once on this Island, Jr." Eighth-grader Delaney Corcoran, in the lead role of Ti Moune, describes her character as someone who is "really outgoing and cares about everyone and everything. She is just a 16-year-old girl trying to find her place in the world." Ti Moune is supported on her journey by her adoptive parents, Mama Euralie and TonTon Julian, played by eighthgraders Audrey Powers and Robert Estes. They love Ti Moune and encourage her, even when they don’t understand her decisions. "I think the biggest struggle for me in this play is being comfortable enough to do things I do not usually do in my normal life," Delaney said. "For example, saving a person’s life or living on an island." Ti Moune’s love interest is Daniel Beauxhomme, played by seventh-grader Ethan Ramm. Workingclass Ti Moune falls in love with upper-class Daniel and hopes for a long life with him. She doesn’t know that he has always been promised to wealthy Andrea Devereux, played by eighth-grader Alyssa Saunders.

Ethan said he loves this play because "it’s fun, out­going and has a good story line." He said he knows audiences will enjoy the lively music and energet­ic dances in musical num­bers such as "Mama Will Provide," sung by eighth-grader Abby Maroun in the role of Goddess of Earth, Asaka.

What would a good story be without conflict? This story has four gods who love to meddle in the lives of humans, and the actors embody these roles perfectly. Asaka (Abby) tries to help Ti Moune and the other peasants, although she isn’t averse to shaking things up a bit. Eighth-grader Michaela Purvis plays Agwe, God­dess of Water, whose rag­ing storms are the catalyst for much of the action on the island.

Evmorfia Alton plays the Goddess of Love, Er­zulie. This eighth-grader notes that "the girly, pink Goddess of Love suits my personality very well." Ev­morfia said she absolutely loves her character’s song "because it’s so meaning­ful and touching, with a beautiful message."

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Xanna Bader plays Papa Ge, "sly Demon of Death." Papa Ge wants to prove that he is stronger than love and throws many obstacles in Ti Moune’s path to happi­ness.

Xanna likes playing Papa Ge because "he is mischievous. He’s the kind of character that you’re not sure if you like or not."

In the end, even Papa Ge is moved by Ti Moune’s loving spirit.

In the tradition of pass­ing folklore from gen­eration to generation, this tale is shared by four storytellers: eighth-graders Amanda Jordan and Emma Richards, and seventh-graders Anna Goyette and Garrett Rob­inson. They tell the story to a frightened little girl in their village, and with the help of the rest of this amazing cast, bring it to life for the audience.

The AMS Theater Club is composed of students from all grades who make up the cast and crew. As they work together to bring stories to life on­stage, they are learning all of the different aspects of theater production.

"What I enjoy most about this play is that it gets everyone involved," Xanna said. "It takes a whole cast and crew to perform a show, and we can’t do it without every­one."

Delaney added, "I think people should come and see this play because ev­erybody has worked so hard to try to make it the best we can. We really have put together a fun, sad and happy story."

Mark your calendars to attend at least one of these magical perfor­mances: 7 p.m. Thursday- Friday, March 17-18, and 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, March 19. Tickets are $5, and are on sale at The Homestead Grocery Store and Deli, The Black For­est Cafe and Bakery, and the school.