The North Lincoln High School Drama Club is set to take a fantastical journey under the sea in its adaptation of Walt Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”
Performances will be Friday through Monday, March 30 to April 1.
A Disney animated film released in 1989, “The Little Mermaid” tells the story of Ariel, played by Jillian Joyce, a mermaid princess who dreams of becoming human. She makes a deal with a sea witch, Ursula, played by Kennedy Case, to become human for three days in an attempt to win the love of Prince Eric, played by Cody Howard. If Ariel’s unable to win Prince Eric’s love, she loses her soul to Ursula.
Somewhat new to theater, Case is a junior at North Lincoln. She’s enjoying her role as Ursula, she said, because her personality somewhat mirrors the sassy, outgoing nature of the character.
“She’s upset because her brother (King) Triton has all the power,” said Case, as a fellow student braided her hair in preparation for a recent dress rehearsal. “She would like to have some power, too. I saw myself as Ursula before I was even cast but I can’t really say that I’m hungry for power like she is. She also has a humble side to her.”
While typically thought of as a children’s production, Case believes “The Little Mermaid” will appeal to adults.
“It deals a lot with being true to who you are, especially with Ariel because she wants so bad to be a human but her father (King Triton) and all of the ‘merpeople’ and sea creatures are prejudiced against the humans,” Case said. “We also want to attract young people to the drama club.”
Case hopes to go on to study theater education in college and to student teach under North Lincoln High School drama and theater director John David Welch.
Ariel’s father, King Triton, is played by senior John Nofsinger.
“It’s very odd having to be a father to all of these girls,” Nofsinger said. “It’s been very emotional trying to connect to Ariel and the other girls. I’m pretty new to theater as well, and I’ve found it to be an escape for me. I really love the people and the sets. I want to keep it in my life.”
The drama club at North Lincoln went through a rough patch last year when their director had to leave mid-semester for personal reasons. The club wasn’t able to do a full musical last year, which resulted in the loss of a lot of its client pool.
“This year we wanted to pick a show that would bring in a large audience,” Welch said. “Shows like this always sell well and that’s what we needed. We wanted to do something that would be fun for the students to perform and for us to create and would sell well.”
The set, which is quite wondrous, took a small village of students, parents and local businesses to produce.
“The set was hard to conceptualize but once we had a concept, it was really easy to make,” Welch said. “We knew we couldn’t recreate the Disney movie on stage so we came up with a concept that came up in the middle. There’s a lot happening on stage but we have this overwhelming amount of parent and community support. Anything I’ve needed, it’s just magically appeared.”
The paint colors are more realistic than the movie’s. Welch used his light-design skills to give the set more of a “cartoony” quality.
Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. General admission tickets are available at https://nlhsmermaid.brownpapertickets.com and at the door. Tickets are $15, $12 for students and faculty, and $8 for children younger than 10.