The Lion King

THIS is why I was so insanely busy during April!  Tatla Lake School put on The Lion King.

Rehearsals started months ago.  They took place in the school library, which would be emptied of furniture and tables for the performance.  Clare, the principal, is on the right.We are very lucky to have a musical family (whom I’ve mentioned several times) in the area – and even luckier that Grandma and Grandpa are prepared to come all the way from Victoria and organize the plays.  This is the third musical that the school has produced.  The school bought a kit for The Lion King, which allowed them to use the script and costume ideas.Carol (on the left) is a marvel.  She had the vision to pull the whole thing together.  When I looked up various school performances on line, I saw that most were done by Middle Schools, and most had casts of 60 – 80 kids.  Tatla school has 20 kids this year and only six are teenagers – we even added a couple of kindergarden children into the mix.  One or two mums helped fill out the chorus.  Carol is grilling them above.  Somehow, also, the kids were squirrelled away for lessons.  Fortunately the school had been built for many more students and there were a number of empty rooms for making props and storing materials.

The seamstresses had been busy for a long time.

The Lion King is an extravaganza of costumes.  I was the painter. I did not design much – I was given instructions and followed to the best of my ability, adapting to the materials available. Note the unpainted refrigerator box that will be used for scenery in the background above!

My first job was the wilderbeest masks.  A couple of the older kids helped cut them out and paint the backgrounds – I just did the details.  (The kids would have helped with that, too, but they did have to go to school and there wasn’t time.)Easter and spring break intervened, and my house became my studio.Then we had to do the giraffe.  Here is Jude who will use the crutches for the front legs.I made a head out of styrofoam (several sheets of which had been donated to the school.)And here is the full outfit!I also painted styrofoam gazelles, which were cut out by someone else.Here is Sarah holding two of them.It was great fun being able to use all the school paints!  I also constructed the elephant’s graveyard. (some real bones but mostly cardboard tubes.)And painted all the backdrops and Pride Rock.  One morning I went into school early and arranged all I had painted on the stage.As you can see, I also painted my pants! Then, at the last minute, Carol wanted an elephant!  She shaped the head from a cardboard box and we made the body from scrap metal and chicken wire.Finishing touches (by a volunteer of mine – more about him later.)Here is the couple who will wear the elephant costume.  They are practicing the moves.Here they are loaded up and heading for the stage.  Their son, Liam, is a baby elephant holding on to his mother’s tail.LiamOne of the fun parts is that, because it is such a small community, everyone in the audience knows all of the kids.

The full elephant ensemble!  I love the way the giraffe is looking at it!The school was to give 3 performances.  For the first, other schools were invited, and kids came form both directions, some from over 3 hours’ drive away.  The principal was amazed when over 100 kids came – chairs had to be rounded up from the church and the hall.  It was for this performance that make-up was used for the first time.  Rafiki took an hour to receive his face paint.   (Kai is one of Carol’s grandson’s – being painted by his dad.)The finished product.Next most complicated was Scar, the bad guy.

And Zazu

Everyone helped.Because there were so few kids, most had to take multiple parts.  During the play Simba grows up.  Here is Teo getting his hair done for the part of young Simba.

And his brother, Jude, once upon a time the giraffe, plays the older Simba.The following day we had the gala performance with a dinner at night and the performance in the evening.  It was wildly exciting for everyone. The three Thompson brothers.Serena who did an excellent job as the young lioness, Nadia.

Saturday saw the matinee – and the big cleanup!  It was the best fun!

7 thoughts on “The Lion King”

  1. Thank you for sharing these delightful pictures Chris. How fortunate these children are to have the experience of living in a community, and attending a school where such things happen. They will never forget it.

    As much work as it was for you, the children will appreciate all that you did, and remember that too.

    Your posts always cheer me. Thanks.

  2. That was excellent! A fabulous way for everyone, young and old, to be creative and have fun together. Thanks for sharing.

  3. This is so awesome!! They are lucky to have you, and you, them! Each time I treat myself to check out the pics I’m over joyed. So glad you shared.

  4. Just a “THANKS” Chris for all your talent and helping people out! Good for you.

  5. What a wonderful experience for everyone. I remember school performance as a student (way, way, way back), as a teacher (way, way back) and as a principal (way back). Programs like this are a lot of work, but a rewarding learning experience for all. My favourite was the giraffe costume. – Margy

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