From book to script to designers, cast and crew are fleshing and living out the story “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” presented by the Dordt Theatre Arts department. The play, which is based on Mark Twain’s 19th century classic by the same name, will open at 8 p.m. October 16 in the TePaske Theatre.
“I am excited for an audience to delight in these characters and their joy as much as I and the cast have throughout this process,” director and theatre professor Josiah Wallace said.
Wallace decided to direct “Tom Sawyer” after reading this particular adaptation while preplanning the theatre season last year. Wallace was hooked from the very first scene of the play.
“I was intrigued and drawn to it. Jumping into water and holding a cat are intrinsically theatrical things to do,” Wallace said. “It was stylistically what I like to do.”
Wallace cited the characterization and playing of multiple roles as aspects that made this play attractive in terms of how the story was told.
The Dordt students in the cast have been attending rehearsals since the second week of school, after auditioning the first week. Five of the ten cast members are freshmen. One of those freshmen is Josh Bootsma, who plays the part of Tom and Huck’s friend, Joe Harper.
“It’s good to be committed and involved with something right away,” Bootsma said. “I am friends with people who I otherwise wouldn’t be. It brings all kinds of people together. We are very different personalities, but we can be friends and have a lot of fun together through theatre.”
Haley Mulder served as the dramaturg for the production. Over the summer she researched the time period and prepared a binder that was used by designers and actors to ensure that the play is true to the historical setting of 19th century Missouri.
“Topics ranged from fashion to types of soil and trees,” Mulder said. “They actually changed the rock color on the set to match the deep red rock from Missouri.”
A desire to heighten the tangible nature of the play informed the set design which includes a two story house and a good old fashioned climbing tree.
The set is a unit set which means there will be no backdrop changes. Figuring out how to depict a variety of locations in one space did not end up being the most challenging aspect of the scenic design.
“We used real water and real dirt which isn’t typical,” Wallace said. “These past few rehearsals, our actors have been walking, sitting and rolling in dirt.”
Tickets for Tom Sawyer are $1 for Dordt students with I.D., $5 for non-Dordt students, and $8 for adults.