‘The Mouse That Roared’ lights up stage

ENCINITAS — Theater production students will take to the stage of San Dieguito Academy to perform the fun political satire “The Mouse That Roared.” The play by Christopher Sergel is based on the novel by Leonard Wibberley, which also became a movie.

The basic storyline is the postage-stamp-size, medieval-minded country of Duchy of Grand Fenwick wages war on the United States in order to lose and have their country’s economy rebuilt by the political giant.

The battle, however, does not go as planned.

“It’s a political satire poking fun at the Cold War, the U.S, and how we handle ending wars,” Stephanie Siers, theater teacher and play director, said.

The production is lighthearted and fun with exaggerated characters. Siers said there is a lot of physical comedy in the play that student actors enjoy performing.

“They all do a really nice job at character development,” Siers said. “They play exaggerated versions of the characters. We’re going for over-the-top association

A scene to watch for during the performance is the transitional Grand Fenwick song between acts. A “very physical” dance routine by five soldiers is added to the song, which is commonly a musical interlude.

Another scene to look for occurs in act one. A discussion between the U.S. president, general, secretary of defense and scientist of the “Q bomb” brings fun and laughter to the stage.

“It’s a silly scene,” Siers said. “The actors are really strong.”

Seasoned student actors play most of the lead roles, but many of the polished performers in the 30-plus person cast are novice actors.

“A couple of the freshmen got larger roles, but most major roles went to students who have been in the program two years,” Siers said.

She added all students auditioned for roles, and were selected on talent and professionalism.

To prepare for the play students practiced for three months during 90-minute class sessions, and met for additional dress rehearsals two weeks prior to the first performance.

There was also a student historian on set to clarify 1950s terms, and bring fellow students up to speed on U.S. Cold War tactics during World War II.

Students serving as backstage technicians had the challenge of preparing numerous sets, props and lighting configurations for multiple scenes that took place in Grand Fenwick and the U.S.

Siers said students learned a lot about the late 1950s and the Cold War in the process of performing.

“The Mouse That Roared” runs at 7 p.m. on Jan. 9, 10, 15, 16 and 17 at the Clayton E. Ligget Theater on the San Dieguito Academy campus, 800 Santa Fe Drive. Proceeds from ticket sales help fund the next theater class production.

Tickets can be purchased at the theater box office during lunch, and 30 minutes prior to show time. Tickets can also be bought online at  HYPERLINK “http://www.seatyourself.biz/sandieguito” www.seatyourself.biz/sandieguito.

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