Elton John and Tony Rice’s “Aida” is coming to the stage next week. The musical, which is based on Guiseppe Verdi’s 19th century opera of the same name, is being put on by the Boundary County School District (BCSD) Theatre Troupe, led by director David Carpenter, and there are six performances scheduled at Becker Auditorium. The dates are: Feb. 23, 24 and 25, and March 2, 3 and 4.
The Herald was fortunate enough to get a peek behind the curtains this past week and meet with some of the performers during rehearsal. The wonderfully diverse cast is made up of approximately 45 performers of all ages, from 6 years old to 40-plus. That number also includes crew members, the unsung heroes, who are in charge of lights, music and all the other offstage tasks that a smooth, successful performance depends upon.
“Aida” is a love story about a Nubian princess who is kidnapped by a captain of the Egyptian Army, a man she eventually falls in love with. The conflict that arises from this forbidden, traitorous love affair sets the stage for an emotionally charged and heartbreaking ending — one that you have to see for yourself to appreciate.
Myla McKechnie will be playing the leading role of Aida.
McKechnie, who is a junior at BFHS, has plenty of performances under her belt — nine Carpenter productions so far, she says. Since the role of Aida is double casted, Madison Hogan will also play the role of the Nubian Princess.
Hogan, who is a junior at BFHS, recently moved to Bonners Ferry from across the way in Montana, and she says that joining the theatre troupe has been a great opportunity for her to meet new friends. When asked to describe her character, who is at the center of the play, Hogan says the princess is “deeply conflicted” and that, in a way, her story is a sort of “emotional journey”.
The part of Amneris is also double casted, and will be played by both Madison Hogan and Bethany Highley.
Jacqueline Schneider will play the role of Mereb, who she admits, is actually a male character in the original play. Schneider is a 23 year-old community member who grew up in Washington, and she has a day job baking donuts at the 3-Mile Bakery.
“This is just my nighttime gig,” she says with a smile, adding that she signed on for the performance after hearing from a friend that the troupe was shorthanded.
India Kucherry will play the part of Nehebka, a Nubian servant who sacrifices herself to save the princess.
Kucherry, who is a singer as well as an actress, says she is excited to use both talents onstage next week.
As for the actors, David Coissart, who is a senior at BFHS, will play the leading role of Radames, the Egyptian captain. Coissart says this is the third play he has done with David Carpenter--as a freshman, he played the part of Charlie Brown in “You’re a good man Charlie Brown”. He also held a leading role in this past summer’s performance of “Back to the 80’s”.
Freshman Alma Fisher will play the part of the Pharaoh, who isn’t seen much on stage but is a major supporting role. Fisher, an aspiring vocalist, says, “The Pharoah is one of the characters that ties everything together and makes everything work.” Alma will be joined onstage by his brothers, AJ and Amar, along with his younger sister Lue Lue.
Amar Fisher, a junior, says he got into acting at a young age. “This is my second play with Carpenter,” he says. “But I’ve been doing plays with my aunt since I was four.”
Fisher will play Zoser, Radames’ father and the play’s antagonist. “I would say this is kind of like a Romeo and Juliet love story,” he says. “Two people fall in love who shouldn’t fall in love and, yeah, it gets very emotional.”
BFHS senior Henry Steiner will play the part of Aida’s father, Amonasro. Steiner describes his character, the King of Nubia, as “the person who’s talked about most but hardly shows up onstage.” When asked about what impresses him most about this play, he says it’s Elton John’s “weird musical undertones, which can go from reggae to contemporary to African flute music.”
There are dozens of other bright, young actors and actresses involved in the play who, although they might not have leading roles, are stars nonetheless.
Come out and support them as they take the stage next week.