by DICK KEREKES & LEISLA SANSOM
Stanton Prep presented the Christopher Segel stage version of “The Mouse That Roared,” October 31 – November 2, 2013 on campus in the Stanton Auditorium.
The play was adapted from the 1954 book by Leonard Wibberley, but if you know anything about the mouse, it is probably because of the 1959 black and white movie of the same name starring comedian Peter Sellers in multiple roles. The film has found a home on cable television, where it can be viewed from time to time.
The play has not been produced often, probably because it calls for a cast of over 35 and as a result has been done mostly by high schools and universities. It was a perfect play for a student production by Director JEFF GROVE. Why? It had roles for actors of varying experience, including one-liner walk-on roles. And it was funny, filled with satirical humor that students as well as the general public could appreciate.
The story is about the fictitious Duchy of Grand Fenwick, located in Europe near France. This small nation is five miles long and three miles wide and has 6,000 residents. The residents produce a premium wine sold at a premium price throughout the world, which is the country’s only source of income.
Unfortunately, a California wine company is producing a knockoff wine with the same look and taste and selling it at a cut-rate price. Diplomatic protests have failed, and the Duchy is going bankrupt. What to do? This is the dilemma that faces the nation’s leader, Duchess Gloriana XII, played by Stanton senior and member of the International Thespian Society, KATIE MACKLIN. Ms. Macklin certainly was the most attractive ruler of any country we have ever seen, and as an actress was so disarming that her smile must have been a secret weapon. Unfortunately, her royal charms were not adding any money to the treasury.
The Duchess consults her two advisors, played by SAMUEL HANNAH and JAMARY SYKES, and they find a simple solution. They will invade the United States of America and declare war. America will promptly win the war, and after declaring victory will send millions of dollars in aid to Grand Fenwick, as they have in almost all previous wars; most notably to Germany and Japan after World War II.
The patriotic and handsome Tully Bascom (CHRISTIAN MERCADO) volunteers to lead the troops, armed with longbows. He hires a boat to take his army of four Fenwickian soldiers played by AVERY GARRETT, NICHOLAS PETTROSS, FEDERICO SIMON, and SPENCER PUENTES across the ocean to attack New York City. While trying to deliver their declaration of war, they accidently capture an Army general (DREW FRERICKS) and Professor Kokintz (MATT UBL), the inventor of the Q-bomb, a highly secret and very powerful weapon of mass destruction. Bascom, unaware that the court’s strategy was based on a planned defeat, returns home with his men, his prisoners, and the bomb.
But of course, it all does end satisfactorily, as the President of the United States (MITCHELL NULAND) realizes the country’s precarious position, sues for peace and comes to an agreement with Grand Fenwick to give them all the money they need if they disarm and call off the war.
Of course, with over 30 characters in the play, there are many other incidents, too numerous to cover, that provided many humorous moments in this show. With a cast this large, the two-page program could not include biographies of the actors. It was obvious that some of the older students had prior stage experience, while a number of others were making their debuts as actors. All in all, the acting was very satisfactory, the line cues were sharp, and the many entrances and exits were right on the mark, thanks to the direction of Mr. Grove and Stage Manager, DÉSIA BACON.
The sets were simple, using platforms, chairs, and a few other minimal furnishings to suggest another time and place. The costumes by DANA MARIE FERGER and SAM FISHER included a royal red velvet gown for the Duchess, hooded mesh tunics for Bascom’s warriors, and clothing from the 50s for the New Yorkers.
Rounding out the cast in a variety of roles were: AMANDA RIVERA, ISABELLA MARTINEZ, JILL RESPONTE, TANISHA MUGWIMI, KAYLEY RENNER, CASSIDY SPENCER, ANTONIO SALINAS, CAROLINE MCMULLEN , ANDREW SO, ANNA WILSON, KRISTEN DAVIS, LAINEY TICER, SAREEN HANDOUSH, ISABELLE CAMPBELL, SAMANTHA WATKINS, ZACH RHODES, HANNAH MENDILLO, SEAN DOHERTY, RILEY BEAN, NETTA WALKER, AND COLLEEN WELLER.
The almost full house audience on Saturday night was enthusiastic and enjoyed the hard working cast who were obviously entirely immersed in the fine art of entertaining, and we were entertained and we thank you.
The next scheduled Stanton production will be January 30 – February 1, when “A Night of One-Act Plays,” written and directed by Stanton students, will be staged.
THE MOUSE THAT ROARED
by DICK KEREKES & LEISLA SANSOM