Setting sail to reach hope, family and sense of self-identity, the Department of Theatre will premiere James and the Giant Peach for the spring musical in Fulks Theatre this weekend.
In the triumphant tale of James Henry Trotter, a young orphan whose parents were killed in an accident resulting in the custody of his wretched aunts, James sets sail to find his everlasting hope – a real family. When encountering a magic man with the potion to relieve James from his nightmare of a life, James magically grows an enormous peach which leads him to embark on a journey with his human-sized insect friends.
Filled with laughter, child-like nuances and peculiar character developments, the musical is expected to inspire and attract all audiences – and maybe bring some light to overshadowed topics.
Marissa Trujillo, stage manager for the musical, said the musical is meant to show different aspects of the theatre while still contributing to the story.
“The show itself has been really fun,” said Trujillo, sophomore theatre education and design tech double major from Forney. “It requires a lot of work and communication with the cast, director teams, and it’s honestly been so great. For this show, I call all of the lights and cues, and it’s really been great to see this beautiful show come together.”
Just like James learning to grow up in his world of chaos, Trujillo said being stage manager for any show is a big job considering this is Trujillo’s first show to manage.
“I have grown a lot,” Trujillo said. “You have to learn how to talk with the production team, directors and cast and how to be assertive. I’ve been told to be more authoritative because I’ve learned how to put my foot down and still be respectful throughout the whole process.”
From the subdued light changes to the interestingly Victorian-Gothic costumes, the musical has allowed for some members of the cast to add their own take on their character.
Carl Kimbrough, junior musical theatre major from Marietta, Georgia, plays the quick witted and imaginative character James. He said he first began preparing for the title role by watching and reading different orphaned characters including Harry Potter. In learning how Potter felt and the challenges a character faces when losing a parent, Kimbrough said he was able to dig a little deeper in the development of James’s character.
“I really looked at a lot of outside sources and drew from them,” Kimbrough said. “I also drew some past, personal experiences of feeling this loneliness but then finding joy through your family.”
Although Kimbrough is the title role, he doesn’t consider himself the star of the show. To Kimbrough, there are different factors that contribute to make someone the star of the show.
“Theatre is a lot more than just the star,” Kimbrough said. “There is no way to say one part is more than another. I would say, ‘I am the title role, but there are other parts that are just as important as mine.’ This isn’t the first time I’ve been a lead. Having a title role takes a lot of responsibility. You have to make sure you know your part and have to prepare for it.”
In the mayhem of crazy aunts, the play does want to make one general statement; the acceptance of all types of people.
Kimbrough said he urges people to see the show because of the messages presented throughout the show.
“I think the show is something we really need right now,” Kimbrough said, “and I think it speaks to things that are very controversial, and I think people need to see it and say ‘Hey, I just need to love people.'”
Topping off the end of their successful season, the musical is ready to spread the holistic message of finding love both in people and within one’s self.
The show will run April 20-22 and 27-29. Tickets will be sold online or at the door for $7 for students.