A classic story is swinging onto the stage at Milford High School.
The 25 student cast of "Tarzan" has been staying after school, making last minute adjustments to the school’s rendition of the Disney movie, based on the book by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Director Carissa Meiklejohn said the school chose "Tarzan" because of its appeal to the audience.
“It’s a show people are slightly familiar with,” Meiklejohn said. “We really like to do kid friendly shows—we like to do things that all of the family can come and enjoy.”
Meiklejohn said putting on the production introduced challenges she never encountered while working on musicals like "Aladdin" or "Beauty and the Beast."
Creating the set was one of those challenges, she said. Unlike Broadway productions with high tech props, students and staff at the high school had to figure out other, low budget, ways to make Tarzan’s swinging look genuine.
The play involved a different type of acting too, she said.
“It was a whole new experience for us,” she said. “I’m used to teaching kids how to be people and how to walk and talk like people. But now they are playing animals that have human feelings.”
Ethan Dehel, 18, who is playing Tarzan, has been acting since he was in the eighth grade. He agreed this was a more physically taxing role.
“It’s definitely a more physical play,” Dehel said. “In most musicals you just stand straight and sing, but for this one I had to get down and be on all fours, you have to roll and jump.”
Dehel said he’s been working out to make sure he’s able to keep up with the demands of the role.
His counterpart wasn’t so much concerned about jumping around as she was feeling awkward.
Jennifer Rust, 17, who is playing Jane, said she’s still getting used to watching her friends act like animals.
“I just stand there and look pretty while everyone else is crawling around me,” she said. “It’s a little weird because all of my friends are acting like gorillas and they’re touching my clothes, but it’s cool too.”
Meiklejohn said the message is one students will relate to.
“One of the big themes is that the character Tarzan doesn’t belong in either world,” she said. “He’s trying to figure out where he belongs.”
“A lot of kids feel like they don’t belong and it has that element of trying to fit in. There is a lesson that can be learned from this,” she said.