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Students travel ‘to infinity and beyond’ during MCT play

ST. IGNATIUS – The Missoula Children’s Theatre stopped at the St. Ignatius School District last week to help 55 students put on a play titled Gulliver’s Travels after only five days of rehearsal. 

“It’s amazing how fast everyone is able to memorize their lines for an hour-long play,” said Tori Peterson. She played the role of Gulliver 1. 

Tori is a senior at the high school this year and said she has performed in an MCT play every year since kindergarten. In the past 13 years, she has played a monkey, a wild thing, a maid, a beach bum, a villager, a few princesses, and other characters.  

“It’s kind of sad that this will be my last year, but I hope the school keeps doing this so kids that love theater can get the opportunity to be on stage,” she said.

Her trick for getting a part every year during rehearsals was to project her voice when MCT directors gave her a line to practice so they knew an audience could hear her, although she said she was also lucky and just happened to be the right fit for specific characters. 

The MCT sends several groups of two professional actors into schools across the country including 50 states and 17 countries to work with a total of about 65,000 children in more than 1,200 communities in just one year. Many of the smaller schools don’t have drama programs so the students wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity. 

Teachers and staff at the school provide support and housing for the MCT adult actors during the week, and local businesses chip in to help fund the program.

Senior Abbey Arlint played Gulliver 2. She was a bit nervous before going on stage but said she loves being in MCT plays. Her favorite part of this year’s play was when her sister, the wasp played by Iris Arlint, ran up to her and gave her a hug, which was part of the play.

“I had to pretend to be disgusted about the hug,” she said with a smile. 

Junior Yvonne Batey played a robot in the play. She said trying on another personality on the stage makes her more aware of her own personality. 

“I’m usually shy but this lets me see what it’s like to be someone else,” she said. 

In this year’s play, Gulliver traveled to different planets in space and ended up getting different creatures to accept their differences and be friends even if they are green, blue, tall or small. 

The cast for this year’s performance included: Tori Peterson as Gulliver 1 and Abbey Arlint as Gulliver 2. Yvonne Batey was JCN the robot. Athena Sasser played the maniacal scientist. Sierra Esslinger was the king and Arleta Long was queen. Gracie Dumontier played the princess. Iris Arlint was the wasp. 

The Houyhnhnm horses were Gabby Smith, Tre Heath, Livana Sasser and Cassidy Orr. The robots were played by Alison Umphrey, Kiersten Molloy, Lanie Lammers, Cora Matt, Evelyn Pavlock-Ferencz, Leslie Bennett, Patience Matt, Elexa Monroy, Anvianna Bossy, Sawyer Pule and Amelia Cronk.

The Yahoos aliens were played by Lola Shock, Cameron Oliver, Lina Sturman, Abby Orr, Sierra Girsch, Brooklynn McClure, Jada Domebo, Wyatt Lammers, Levi Good, Aliya Fyant, and Ivy Weaselhead.

The Lilliputian creatures included Deana McNutt, Ariana Robine, Avia Lee, Jozie Stemberg, Tre Domebo, Nollen Lammers and Anna Cronk.

Another creature group called the Blefuscudians included Jayce Stemberg, Jory Stemberg, Ayla Boykin, Allison Orr, Frederick Matt, Sayre Plimmer, Isabelle Smith, Harmony Bartel, Johanna Robine, Joseph Cronk, Marcas Fyant and Isaac Morigeau.

Sequoia Bossy, Ashlee Peterson, and Madyson Esslinger were the assistant student directors. The Invisible Force was played by MCT Actor Jacob Hawk. MCT Actor Samantha Hayes directed the play.

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