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The Jungle Book Comes to Santa Maria

Do you remember reading the story or seeing the movie of The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling when you were growing up? 

Last weekend audiences at the Middle School Production were taken to the spectacular world of the jungle. They were entertained by our amazingly talented students in this year’s production of The Jungle Book. Over 50 students were involved in performing and technical roles, including lighting, sound, and stage management.

The girls worked with dedication and passion over the course of 12 weeks to bring the story of Mowgli to life. Mowgli’s search for a home took the spotlight in this reimagining of Rudyard Kipling’s classic tale, The Jungle Book. Mowgli struggled to fit in with the wolves, the monkeys and even the humans. With the help of his friends Baloo and Bagheera, Mowgli contended with the mesmerising Kaa and the terrifying Shere Khan and saved the jungle.

Briandaniel Oglesby’s interpretation offers a modern perspective about how human beings have contributed to the destruction of the natural environment. In addition, this universal coming-of-age tale is particularly relevant to our Years 7 – 9 students; it mirrors young people’s transition from one stage of life to another. I believe The Jungle Book reinforces the importance of individuality, and I hope that this story will inspire our students and audience to accept all walks of life, fostering a true sense of belonging “We be of one blood you and I.” This production was colourful and lively, with the amazing set and costumes designed by Molly Werner. We are very proud of the journey we undertook over the course of this production and would like to thank the College community for their support. Emily Hunt, Producer

We asked some of the characters about their time in the Production, and here’s what they had to say.

What did you love most about the play? 

I have made so many wonderful memories during my first, Middle School Production, and I enjoyed everything we have done throughout this whole production. I have loved learning the physical movements of individual animal characters and performing them to an audience on stage. This was a completely new experience for me. It was so much fun to rehearse and perform The Jungle Book, which turned out to be such a remarkable show for the performers and the audience! I have made so many new friends along the way. The entire team was always optimistic and enthusiastic, and I always looked forward to rehearsals after school and even on the weekend! I very much enjoyed performing The Jungle Book! After this spectacular show and experience, I would love to perform in the production again. Nitya Chowdhary, Wolf, Year 7

What is one thing that you learned about yourself while you were doing the play?

One thing I have learned throughout the course of the rehearsal process and the performance of the production is how myself and others were able to adapt to create different characters. I would never have learnt how to act like a jungle animal if it hadn’t been for The Jungle Book. The Middle School Production, along with Miss Hunt has taught me many new drama skills and techniques that the cast and I are now able to take into future productions. This production taught us new things about our voice and movement and how we can use these aspects to transform our characters into real animals onstage. Jaymie Clark, Bagheera, Year 9

What did you love most about your character? 

What I liked about my character the most is his relatability. Mowgli was raised by wolves, but he didn’t fit with them. He didn’t fit with snakes, monkeys, or citizens either. It took him a long time to find who he belongs with. In the end, he made his own group instead. This is relatable for a lot of people, who don’t always fit in straight away – like Mowgli. Sometimes we fit in with lots of different groups, or it just takes a while to find our own group of friends. I also liked how he was able to maintain his values (like respecting nature and being kind) even though he was pressured by all types of animals to change and be like them – he was a bit of all of them. He was able to make his own world instead of being like just one of the animals.

I really loved the role of Mowgli because he has a fun personality, similar to mine. He is energetic, funny and has a big imagination. It was amazing getting to play the role of Mowgli, and I enjoyed being able to change his character based on where he was and what characters he was with. For example, it was lots of fun to act Mowgli when he was with the monkeys – I got to swing from the monkey bars and do some cool stunts like being lifted onto the other monkey’s shoulders. Because Mowgli was in multiple places and lots of scenes, I also got to interact with a lot of the cast, and I ended up making friends with pretty much the whole cast by the end of the Production. All in all, the production was so much fun to be a part of, and I highly recommend doing it next year if you love drama and acting! Aeva Veitch, Mowgli, Year 8

What was the biggest challenge you faced, and how did you overcome it? 

The biggest challenge I faced during The Jungle Book was the extra work I needed to put into rehearsals, particularly in the past few weeks when the performance days were getting closer. I found that I needed to be organised with my schoolwork, and at times it was hard to stay focussed. I overcame this by resting whenever I could and taking care of myself. The Jungle Book was a rewarding experience, and I am very grateful to have been a part of it. Alice O’Neill, Shere Khan, Year 8

What will you miss now the production is over? 

The Production has presented a wonderful experience filled with many memorable encounters that live theatre offers. When deliberating the question ‘What would I miss most about the Production?’, my original thought was the shared lunches. The shared lunches (filled with sweet, savoury and unique foods, provided by each person) presented the cast from Years 7 – 9 with opportunities to communicate and converse with others from different years, certainly strengthening our bonds and sharing experiences with one another. Not to mention the food was delicious! In addition, I, as I’m sure everyone will agree, am going to miss the performance nerves and excitement we had beforehand. It inspired us to aim for a successful performance, helping us strive higher and achieve our best. In summation, all 50 plus cast members, technical crew, stage managers, parent helpers and teachers were provided with a time filled with enjoyment, performance mayhem and a whole lot of ‘monkeying around.’ Nevertheless, choosing a moment from this adventure doesn’t have one memorable moment. As the whole experience was memorable even in itself. Rainy Guimbeau, Baloo, Year 9


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