Members of the Hannibal Middle School Theater Club are prepared to share an enchanted evening with visitors of all ages, as they perform 'Snow White' from Friday, March 2 to Sunday, March 4 in the HMS Auditorium.

Members of the Hannibal Middle School Theater Club are prepared to share an enchanted evening with visitors of all ages, as they perform ‘Snow White’ from Friday, March 2 to Sunday, March 4 in the HMS Auditorium.

The students have been preparing for what Assistant Director Stacey Mueller called a unique version of Snow White. She said audience members expecting the Disney version of the magical tale will be in for a pleasant surprise. Students, parents and past Theater Club members joined together to help Mueller and Director Caitlin Spencer as the elaborate backdrops, detailed stage makeup, costumes and performances came together during dress rehearsal Wednesday, March 1.

“We liked this version of Snow White, because it was more of a dark comedy,” Mueller said.

For example, Esmerelda is the evil queen in the form of a young girl, and she is not in the Disney version. Sixth grader Lanie Privett said she worked with fellow “evil” characters to come up with a cackle that everyone agreed upon. She said she enjoyed the chance to meet new friends, pointing out that the first rehearsal was a fun experience for her as she met all members of the cast and crew. Privett recalled that getting all the details of a particular scene came together, it felt “really good to get it just right.”

Eighth grader Eric Hudson said he learned how to carry an air of royalty from a cousin who had performed in “Cinderella.” He said mastering that demeanor was exciting, but he enjoyed forging new friendships. Hudson said before the play, he hadn’t met Willa Waelder, who plays Snow White. Now they’re good friends.

“Probably the best part of this whole experience was meeting all the new people and becoming friends with all of the cast members,” Hudson said. “It was awesome.”

Eighth grader Madelyn Garrett is a member of the backstage crew, making sure that everyone has their lines ready to go, setting up stage lighting and helping with the transitions between scenes. She uses scripts that they mark so they’re ready for each change — she said she appreciates when all of the backstage elements come together at the right time.

“I like when things go smoothly and it’s quiet backstage,” Garrett said.

Waelder, a seventh grade student, remembered gaining the confidence to perform without the script by her side through the skills of improvisation, as she and fellow cast members on stage used that skill to keep the scene vibrant. She said she enjoyed the death scenes and the evil queen scenes — which featured her friend, seventh grader Katie Locke. Waelder said fellow students offered each other compliments and encouragement through each practice.

“After a scene, they will say ‘oh my gosh, that was perfect, even if it wasn’t,’” she said.

Locke said she watched the movie “Wicked,” to observe Angelina Jolie’s attitude, pointing out she had to learn how to be “mean and spiteful.”

“It was kind of hard, because I’m usually a pretty nice person — that’s what everybody says, at least,” she said. “And it was a little challenging, you just kind of learn to take on the role.”

Seventh grader Caylee Cox played the walking, talking, magic mirror that accompanied the Locke — she said she enjoyed the challenge of finding the right metallic-sounding voice and the perfect costume brought everything together. Cox said she enjoyed rehearsing along with her friend.

“She’s got a lot of spirit in her,” she said.

Sixth graders Brody Douglas, who plays Slowpoke the dwarf, and Cameron Cox, who plays Snore, agreed that it was fun to join fellow characters as they provided comedy during the play. Douglas said that Slowpoke is easily distracted and a bit slower to react, and Cox said that snore is “not very active,” often falling asleep during the action.

“I just love being like the laughing stock of the whole play,” Douglas said. Cox said he felt the same way.

“He’s always tired, he’s always sleeping, he doesn’t do things that Sarge would want him to do,” he said. “He’s always sleeping. It’s unbelievable.”

For eighth grader Cailee Combs, who has performed all three years during Theater Club productions, the experience was fun and different each year — she performed in “Thumbelina” and “The Lion King” last year. Her costume and detailed makeup gave her the appearance of an elderly woman, and Combs said she liked honing her “old lady voice.” With each practice, she said she witnessed everyone gaining confidence and skills in their roles.

“Toward the end, it was fun to see every time we brought in a new set piece,” she said. “It was really good to see the whole thing come together at the end.” Spencer and Mueller agreed that the students bonded into a closely-coupled team along the way.

“This gives them an opportunity to come together with a common love of getting to perform and be a part of something like this,” Mueller said, noting the friendships carry far beyond the production.

“It really allows them to experience a whole different kind of performing arts because we have band and we have chorus — this combines the two sometimes,” Spencer said.

She commended the students for all of the responsibility they take with their lines, their costumes and makeup with the help of their parents. As she reminded the dwarves to get their overalls nice and dirty for the performance, beaming smiles spread across the stage.

The showtimes for ‘Snow White’ will be at 7 p.m. Friday, March 2 and Saturday March 3 and at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 4, in the Hannibal Middle School Auditorium. Tickets are available for $5 for adults 19 and older, $2 for children six years of age and older. Admission is free for children five years of age and under; family passes are also available for $12, which includes admission for two adults and two or more children. For more information, please call the Hannibal Middle School at 573-221-5840.

Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com