Song, dance, big words reign in Mary Poppins at Clear Fork

BELLVILLE — A play with a message, good for people from the youngest age to the old, is in the works at the Clear Fork schools.

People who are familiar with Walt Disney’s films probably have a fond memory of “Mary Poppins.” It’s the movie that has the impossibly long word in it, that probably everyone has memorized: supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

The Edwardian-era British Banks family is central in the play. There are children in the family, and they, technically, run the house.

Arlo Durham, 17, who plays Mr. Banks, said his character is of a person who wants “everything precise.”

Laura Kelly, 17, who plays Mrs. Banks, said the children have run out one nanny, and Mr. Banks wants to advertise for another.

The kids compose their own ad, asking for someone with a little kindness.

Mary Poppins, played by Julie Andrews, shows up. The story unfolds with Mary Poppins doing her bit to reform the household.

Dunham said the musical is “one of character development” because Mr. Banks is “harsh” to his family, but it ends with Mrs. Banks (Winifred) being more assertive.

Brooke Hursh, 16, said Mrs. Banks says she will “stay until the chain breaks.”

The students in the play tried out in December, singing and dancing. Rehearsals began Jan. 28. The play will be performed March 31.

James Michalovich is director of the production.

Listening to the cast members of Mary Poppins gives an observer an education in how young people set priorities in their lives.

Most cast members have been in a number of productions.

Carter King, 9, who plays Michael Banks, one of the children, said his experience is that “some parts are not good for you.” He played in Peter Pan and it was good because he had a lot of lines, he said. In another, he was an extra, and he said that was “boring.”

Malorie Kinney, 16, who plays Mary Poppins, said she has been in about 20 plays, including at The Ohio State University Mansfield campus, and middle and high school at Clear Fork.

Arlo Durham said he has “apprenticed” himself by watching more experienced performers so you can get an “idea what to do.”

Cast members Maddie Clark, 13, Carter King, 9 and Malorie Kinney, 16. Photo by Louise Swartzwalder members Maddie Clark, 13, Carter King, 9 and Malorie Kinney, 16. Photo by Louise Swartzwalder