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The Beat of the Drum

Jungle Book Review

Lili Mautner, Reporter

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This past weekend March 4th and 5th Napa High Drama Department debuted their play The Jungle Book. The main difference in their interpretation of the story is that Mowgli, played by Nianna Garrido Davis, is female, as opposed to the classic version where he is male.
The cast featured drama students from all grades as well as children from elementary schools around Napa, including Browns Valley Elementary, Stone Bridge School, Silverado, Redwood, and River Middle Schools.

Students have been rehearsing since mid december which includes early release Wednesdays, some Fridays and Super Saturdays. There was also tech week where the cast and crew had to be at rehearsal everyday including Saturday and Sunday two weeks prior to the opening show.

The characters did the Disney movie musical justice by singing and performing a number of well executed pieces throughout the play. Including reggae singer Matisyahu’s song “One Day”. The music was picked by Ms. Paris and the dancing wa choreographed by Lisa Clark Schmeling who has had her own company for over 25 years.

The show was fun to watch thanks to the colorful sets and choreography. The constant motion and pacing helped keep the storyline going and kept the audience drawn in. Some plays focus too much on dialogue and plot setup that tends to make the play drag on and seem boring. The drama department obviously knew their audience which consisted mainly of parents, students, and siblings – many of whom were younger and had a shorter attention span. Obviously they can’t have kids swinging from vines in the District Auditorium but I thought the cast did a great job keeping the show exciting and full of action.

The cast got really into character and played very convincing animals. There’s nothing worse than watching a play where the cast is’t into it and you can feel the awkwardness – there wasn’t any of that in this play.

One student who got really into character is Senior Christian Rubio who played Shere Khan, the protagonist tiger intent on eating Mowgli. Christian has been in drama for two years and his role as Shere Khan has been his most important part so far as well as the most challenging. “This was definitely the most work I’ve ever put into a character which makes me wish I could go back and redo some characters now that I know what I can really do.” says Rubio.

Christian had a deep connection with his character much to the surprise of his classmates who thought he would play a more benign character such as Baloo. But he decided to try something new and get out of his comfort zone. On preparing for the role Christian said, “I didn’t know how to act like a tiger – tigers are cats and obviously humans don’t act like cats. A lot of my practice went towards moving like a tiger.” Christian also shared that his “personality is like the exact opposite of Shere khan. Before every performance I had to look at this tiger in inside of me. I think everyone has this tiger inside of them but we try not to look at it because we’re afraid of what it means.”

All in all the drama production was a success for the cast, crew, viewers, and all those involved.

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Jungle Book Review