POULSBO — Taking a 180-degree turn on the stage, the North Kitsap drama club will be performing the musical “Big River,” which is based on Mark Twain’s novel “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”
The play opened Friday, and will be showing today at 7:30 p.m., followed by a 4:30 p.m. matinee on Sunday. Then the NK actors will also take the stage March 9 and 10 each at 7:30 p.m. at the NK Auditorium in Poulsbo.
After tackling a mouthful of old English in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” earlier this year, NKHS director Randy Powell has been impressed with the diversity the 22-member cast has shown during the two months they’ve had to produce “Big River.”
Nowhere is that assortment of acting qualities more apparent than in Huck Finn himself, played by NK senior Mark Sanders.
“He’s going from a Scottish warrior to a teenage boy on the Mississippi with all his Southern twang,” Powell said. “Watching the show, you can see for yourself … it’s unbelievable.”
“It’s about as different as I could imagine,” Sanders said. “That’s the great thing about the stage, you don’t have to be the same person all your life, you can be two or three.”
Sanders’ transformation is complemented by a newcomer to the NK stage, senior Nathan Crane who is playing the role of Jim, the slave whom Huck Finn risks his life to save.
Voicing the struggle of the story, the duo tackle some very difficult, yet rewarding two-part songs as they make their way down the Mississippi. The soulful Southern music, written by Roger Miller, is the staple of the play, Powell said, and it perhaps best relays the story’s message of freedom.
“The songs are so warm and so full of meaning,” he said. “The whole idea is the story … it’s not about the sets or the costumes, even though we’ve tried to put the touches on.”
“No matter what color your skin is, the sky is still blue,” sophomore Alex Salo said.
He and Hank Hayden play the rambunctious duo of the Duke and the King, while Brian Fagan assumes the onlooking role of playwright Samuel Clemens in the trip down the big river, which is fit for audiences of all ages.
Tickets are available at Liberty Bay Bookstore in Poulsbo and at the door. Reserved seating is $9. Student seating is $6.