Play about bullying takes stage at Kasson-Mantorville
More than 70 students are involved with the Kasson-Mantorville all-school fall musical production of “HONK! The Musical” by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe.
The play won the Olivier Award for Best New Musical in 2000, and even beat out “The Lion King” to receive the honor. “The show is a very sweet, very funny retelling of the story of Hans Christian Andersen’s original story,” said director Mel Ferris. “I saw a production of this play at the Mantorville Theatre Company a few years ago and absolutely loved the show,” Ferris said. “The music alternates between very sweet and catchy, and very complex and beautiful. And it is also a very good story that deals with an important subject — bullying — and how bullying can hurt.”
In many ways, the show is a love letter to the bond between mother and child. When character Ugly wanders away from the barnyard because he’s being picked on, his mother Ida never gives up on finding him. She says early on that she knows there is something special about him, and her faith in and love for him are ultimately what saves Ugly, and helps him discover his true potential in life.
Bring a tissue or two, the director advises, because there “are some scenes that will tug at your heartstrings, but rest assured: the story does have a happy ending. The story is also a reminder to everyone that it’s tough to be that different kid who doesn’t quite fit in, but that everyone can find their true self with help from others.”
Costumers Ingvild Herfindahl and Jen Smith have been hard at work, designing costumes that “look like people but you can still tell which animal they are. Since the musical is a metaphor, all the barnyard animals stand in for actual people. You can still tell which animal they are, whether they are a duck or a chicken or a cat.”