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Godby students relate to message of acceptance in ‘Tarzan’ production

By: Amanda Karioth Thompson, COCA | April 11, 2018

Tenth-grader Isabella Claudio provides critical support for the upcoming Godby High School production of “Tarzan.” As the assistant student director, she’s never far from the all-important three-ring binder. “We call it the bible and it has the whole script in it. I do all the blocking and the movements, the stage directions and everything as the actors perform it. If they forget what they’re supposed to do, I can tell them.” This wasn’t a position she sought out, in fact, she wasn’t even sure she wanted it but drama teacher Randi Lundgren saw potential in Isabella and encouraged her to take the job. In doing so, Isabella has learned about herself as well as leadership and sacrifice. “It’s been a really big eye-opener,” she said.

“I’m a new student this year at Godby,” explained Isabella. “I moved from down south and it was tough for me in the beginning of the year but when I really got involved with theater it helped me create new friends, life-long friends.”

In many ways, Isabella’s experience echoes the essential message of “Tarzan” and Lundgren explained that the show “is about finding where you belong. It’s about finding your tribe and that’s what Tarzan has to decide.”

Though the show’s themes resonated with Lundgren and her students, when making the final decision to present this specific production, it was the music that sealed the deal. “These are good songs and I thought it would be really challenging. It’s our 10th year for the drama program, so I was like let’s do something big.”

A vocally challenging show, each of the main characters perform solos and there’s an ensemble of eight gorillas that sing along. “The gorilla chorus has to be loud enough to provide backup but not so loud they overpower. That control is something that I don’t know how to do or teach and I’m so glad I have Krystena Hutchins because she knows how to do that.”

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