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Arlee students travel to space for MCT play

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ARLEE – Aliens, robots, giants and a bumbling space explorer took the stage at this year’s Missoula Children’s Theater performance.

The show was “Gulliver’s Travels,” set in space. The play told the story of the explorer Gulliver navigating space and meeting the locals of each new world he encounters. Backstage, before the performance, seventh-grader Dylan LoveJoy was looking forward to the performance. The role was his first in an MCT performance, but he knew he’d excel as the King Giant. “I like singing, I learned my script, and the princess is my cousin,” he said. On stage, he grew to about eight feet tall and lorded over the other actors as he searched for his alien subjects.

MCT is based in Missoula. The organization sends professional actors to towns like Arlee to put together a full production in a single week. Students auditioned for their parts after school on Monday, and by Saturday evening the show was ready. 

MCT actor Ariel Baron played the role of the Invisible Force of Good. She said she enjoys the lighthearted nature of the play. “It’s so silly, fun and goofy,” she said. “It doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

Andrea Brister coordinated the MCT show in Arlee. She’s a teacher at the school. “It’s important for a rural community like Arlee to have arts in the community,” she said. 

During the show, the Arlee gym was packed. Nearly 200 people of all ages made up the audience. 

Aaliyah Jackson Whiteman has been participating in Arlee’s MCT performances for years, but she got her biggest role yet in Gulliver’s Travels. She played a Houyhnhnm horse. She said she liked getting into her mischievous character. “The Houyhnhnms are sassy. They’re mean to the Yahoos,” she said. 

The annual performances give students like Jackson Whiteman a chance to immerse themselves in the world of theater. “It’s a way of expressing myself, and it’s all about having fun,” she said. 

Dalton Marks played Gulliver number one and Mandy Couture played Gulliver number two. Shyla Schlieker played JCN, Paige Johnston was the Giant Queen of Brobdingnag, Aurora O’Neill was the Princess of Brobdingnag and Damyen Coates was the Maniacal Scientist of Lapunta. 

The Houyhnhnm Horses were played by Saisha North Piegan, Aliyah Jackson, Cayden Clark and Madisyn Hanken. 

Naomi Fisher, Gracie Haynes, Selena HeavyRunner, Lilybelle Buffalo, LilyAni Howard, Caddalina Charlo, Taio McLinden, Ezra Brazill, Amillia Bartell, Uhriah BigDay, IzzaBella Ellison and Malia StandingRock played the Yahoos. 

The Robots of Lapunta were played by Levi Conover, Agnes Fleischhauer, Hazel Pablo, Brody Smith, Aleah Sherwood, Feather StandingRock, Baily Smith, Morgan Pablo, Brooklyn Brown, Deja-Nay LittleMarry, Saiawna Stasso and Tyler Conover. 

The Aliens of Lilliput were Ahriah Fisher, Shy Thomas, AnnaHaya Coulson, Caleb Clark, Skye Charlo, Ella Knoll, JaNae Martinez and Callen Ostby. 

Quincey Schlieker, Ember Moon Weaver-Ashley, Lala StandingRock, Maycee Dalton, Emilie Fisher, Matia Brien, Sofia Iliff, Myles Davis, Kayci Madman, Bianca O’Neill, Jessica Arnold and Fallyn Madman played the Aliens of Blefuscu. The assistant directors were Starr Mahseelah, Enola Weaver-Belcourt, Juaquin Santos and Jaydessa Barnaby. Anne Stewart accompanied the actors on the piano. The tour director was Joe Drummond. 


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